Algeria: May 6, 2004


The government is negotiating for the surrender of some 300 GSPC rebels. The GSPC leader has issued a statement denying this. But it is known that GSPC, the last major rebel group, has broken up into several factions. There are thought to be fewer than a thousand armed GSPC members still active. The number might be closer to 500. No one is sure. But there has been a big fall off in GSPC attacks, and army sweeps of  rural areas long frequented by the GSPC, find only long abandoned camps. Meanwhile, countries along Algeria's southern border report an increase in small groups of armed Algerians passing through. Niger troops recently killed four armed Algerians, who were believed to be Islamic radicals belonging to GSPC.

It is believed that most key GSPC rebels have fled to Europe, or are trying to set up new camps in countries south of Algeria. But the "southern strategy" in running into hostility from those nations on Algeria's southern border, and  American Special Forces troops, who are training and working with Algeria's southern neighbors to beef up border security.




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