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In Algeria the slaughter continues in 2000 despite huge demonstrations in which 100,000 women took part in 1999.
Sunday, 17 December, 2000, 23:07 GMT Algeria hit by three massacres
Two more massacres are reported to have taken place in Algeria, bringing to nearly 40 the number of people killed by suspected Islamic militants in the past day.
Fifteen travellers were killed west of the capital Algiers when an armed group opened fire on a bus, and five people were killed in a separate incident one hour later, local sources told the French news agency. This follows the killing of 15 students and their supervisor in their dormitory overnight on Saturday.
Altogether nearly 150 people have been killed so far during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when Islamic fundamentalist rebels traditionally step up their attacks.
Most of those killed have been civilians or members of the security forces.
There have been three attacks in the past 24 hours:
Fifteen travellers reported killed at Tenes, 200 km (130 miles) west of Algiers Five people killed, including three women, at Khemis Miliana, 120 km west of the capital 15 students and their supervisor killed in an overnight attack at a technical college in Medea, 80 km south of Algiers
In this first incident, gunmen burst into a dormitory while the students were either asleep or reading and opened fire. The students were all aged between 15 and 17.
No one has yet said that they carried out the attack, but witnesses said the attackers were Islamic fundamentalists belonging to the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), believed to be the most active armed group in the area.
Thursday, 21 December, 2000, 17:29 GMT Amnesty condemns Algeria killings
Amnesty wants accountability for all the killings Human rights group Amnesty International has strongly condemned the recent spate of killings of civilians in Algeria.
Noting a significant rise in the level of violence, Amnesty urged the authorities to spare no effort to investigate attacks and bring those responsible to justice.
It said that in the past week alone, more than 100 civilians had been killed, along with dozens of members of the security forces, state-armed militias and armed groups.
"The killing has to stop," Amnesty said. "The Algerian authorities should spare no effort to investigate these crimes and to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice."
World looks away
In the latest violence to be reported from Algeria, La Tribune newspaper said that eight people were killed in an attack on Wednesday in a remote village in the Chlef region, 200km west of the capital.
The paper also said that in another incident, two people were killed and more than 20 injured in a bomb attack at Tiaret, more than 300km west of Algiers.
In its report, Amnesty said an average of 200-300 people had been killed every month this year - but said the international community largely tends to ignore this.
Last month, the human rights organisation urged the Algerian authorities to withdraw an amnesty offered last year to members of armed groups who surrendered.
It said it opposed laws which "prevent the truth from coming out and prevent those responsible for attacks on human rights from being held accountable for their actions".
More than 100,000 people are estimated to have been killed in politically-related violence since 1992 when the army cancelled elections that the Islamists seemed certain to win.
While the government routinely blames the killings on Islamist guerrillas, correspondents say there are widespread suspicions that sections of the armed forces are also partly responsible.
In addition to the known dead, large numbers of Algerians have simply gone missing - a problem that the government has refused to investigate, despite growing pressure from relatives of the disappeared.
Sunday, 24 December, 2000, 16:18 GMT 'Rebels' kill Algerian singer
Algeria's civil war has claimed over 100,000 lives Suspected Islamist rebels have reportedly killed a young cabaret singer and kidnapped six people from the discotheque where she was performing.
Witnesses said the singer, known as Sihem, was thrown to the ground and had her throat slit after the attackers stormed the club near the coastal town of Annaba.
The killing was one of 11 reported in Algeria in the past few days, bringing the number of deaths to over 240 during this year's holy month of Ramadan - more than in previous years.
Islamist rebels have stepped up their attacks, dashing hopes for end to Algeria's nine-year civil war, in which more than 100,000 have died.
The rebels have been blamed for the killing of several singers since the start of their campaign against the secular authorities.
In the latest incident, the attackers - dressed in military uniforms - seized the cabaret singer and slit her throat open with a sword.
A number of other people at the club are reported to have been badly beaten up, or injured as they jumped from the building to escape.
Survivors of the attack said six people had been taken away by the intruders.
The BBC Middle East correspondent Frank Gardner says the bodies of people kidnapped in such a fashion are usually found mutilated.
Algeria's independent press reported other civilian deaths over the weekend, as well as those of seven rebels shot dead by the security forces.
The violence is mainly blamed on two well-armed rebel groups, which rejected an amnesty offered by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The offer expired a year ago.
Correspondents say some of the fighters who took advantage of the amnesty to lay down their arms, are now joining more extreme rebel factions.
31st Aug 1997 Pregnant Women Disembowelled, Children Hacked to Death
Survivors of Algeria's single most bloody massacre told 'in' harrowing reports yesterday how "terrorists" blasted their way into village houses to hack to death children and women begging for their lives. Some pregnant women were disembowelled. Those fleeing were shot or axed and their bodies burned. Scores of young girls were taken away to provide sex for the attackers. At least 98 people were killed and 120 wounded during a four- hour nightmare in Sidi Rais, south of Algiers, according to official figures. The authorities blamed Muslim rebels for the killings. About 60,000 people have been killed in the North African country since the authorities in January 1992 scrapped a general election dominated by the radical Islamic Salvation Front.
"We cried with all our force but no one came to rescue us," one traumatised young man told El Watan newspaper, which reported witnesses saying more than 300 were killed. State television showed smoke rising from blackened houses and rescuers carrying limp forms in blankets to ambulances. Villagers watched silently or wept. The slaughter followed five nights of massacres, two bombs in Algiers and one in Oran city in the West, in which a total of more than 300 other people were killed. The Prime-Minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, went on television to promise more security measures, for rural communities, the targets of most massacres. Amid increasing clamour on how such massacres are allowed to continue, Mr Ouyahia announced that a news conference, planned before the massacre and due to be held last night, was postponed. The Government vowed again that "terrorists" - Algeria's official term for Muslim fundamentalist rebels - would be eradicated. But Algerians, who have heard this since violence erupted in 1992, demanded more concrete measures. Adding to the horror of Sidi Rais, scores of the youngest and. most beautiful women were dragged off for "temporary marriages" - forced sex before being abandoned and killed. Liberte newspaper said about 100 women, none older than 24, were taken. "Kill us ... we would sooner die" it quoted one as screaming. Some of the victims were guests who had come to celebrate a boy's circumcision. -REUTERS
7 Apr 1997 Chainsaw Exectuions
More than 80 civilians have been murdered by suspected Islamic guerillas in Algeria, including some who were beheaded with a chainsaw, in the worst such massacres in six months.
3rd Sept 97 300 People Slaughtered Sidi Rais, Ben Ali, Souhane ... village names wrenched from Algerian obscurity on a wave of bloodshed in which 60,000 people liave died in terror. In the darkness of Algeria's last Muslim weekend, between 100 and 300 people, many of them women and children, were ruthlessly slaughtered in Sidi Rais, shot, disembowelled, their throats cut. Algerian commentators, diplomats and foreign analysts see no end in sight to the killings, which the Government blames on Muslim fundamentalist rebels. But why the killings and what do they achieve for the rebels? "They want to install the Islamic republic by jihad (holy struggle), in massacring thousands of Algerians," said Omar Belhouchet, editor of El Watan, one of Algeria's most influential newspapers. "They will not stop." In Sidi Rais, this aim was realised; the savagery undoubted. Algeria's Medical Union testified: "Even foetuses have been taken from their disembowelled mothers to be mutilated and massacred."
25 Sept 1997 Second massacre Residents of the village of Bentalha say the authorities did too little too late to protect them from a massacre this week in which they say the toll was more than 200 despite official figures of 85.
Jan 98 1000 people
hacked to death.
The worst escalation of violence yet. Algeria accepts an EU delegation.
"They [the attackers] are not human ... How can you explain the head of a baby of six months being crushed and the body being trampled on?" "The Islamic world should not remain indifferent towards such shocking acts, especially during the holy month of Ramadan,"
Dec 98 The slaughter continues
The Fatwah of Holy Pleasure
Ali Bughidu has lost the will to live, The screams of his teenage daughters and his wife just before their throats were slit by Muslim fundamentalists dominate his every waking moment and most of his dreams. At 65, this highly decorated veteran of the Algerian war of independence spends his days begging friends and neighbours for a prescription that will speed him to oblivion. "They slaughtered my two daughters Zawffia and Saiyda in front the neighbours,' he tells anyone who will listen. "Their only crime was their insistence on attending school against the wishes of these terorists. I heard their screams as they were being slaughtered, and when his wife tried to protect them, they killed her as well."
The terrorists who killed Bughidu's wife and two daughters told witnesses violent death was inevitable for any women who defied their orders. Shortly before the executions, fundamentalist groups in Bughidu's village of Bir Touta told families to stop sending their daughters to govemment-run schools. Most families succumbed. "My 15 and 16-year-old daughters were outstanding students," Bughidu says. "It would have been a crime to stop them attending school; I wanted them to be either doctors or nurses. In our village, we have no female doctor or nurse and many of us disapprove of women undressing in front of male doctors. My daughters died as martyrs. They were religious and wore the veil; they never stopped reading the Koran. When their throats were cut by these despicable murderers, they were reciting verses from the holy book. These mad men who took the lives of my wife and daughters are the enemies of Islam."
Khadija Dahamani, 28, is the latest woman journalist to be shot dead by the fundamentalists. She died at the end of last year as she waited for a bus near her home in the Baraki suburb of Algiers. She worked for the popular magazine Al Shurook Al Arabi and was a devout Muslim. A female colleague, Malika Suboor, 21, also died when fundamentalists shot her at point-blank range near her home. But the most famous victim, known throughout Algeria as "Kamikaze" because of her courageous television reports on women's rights and the fight against Islamic terror, fought for her tife for 10 days after she was attacked outside her parents' home in Chevalier.
Rashida Hamadi, 29, was one of 53 Algerian journalists who have died so far in the civil war. 'Women here are the leaders of change in society," says Yasmin Ben Hamza of the Algiers-based SOS Femme. 'More than 100,000 women took part in the first demonstration against terrorists and fundamentalists in March, 1992. Algerian women have a long tradition of fighting, so the fundamentalists consider them the enemy."
The eight women joumalists killed are considered comparatively fortunate because they did not suffer the indignity of rape and kidnapping. Outside the capital, 15-year-old girts are routinely gang-raped before their throats are slashed in public as a "warning".
"They forced us to cook, wash and clean for them. Each evening, one of us was chosen for gang rape in a separate room. One night as we were eating, I noticed the men's eyes were on me. They kept asking, 'Have you finished eating?' and I would say 'No'. It was the longest dinner of my life. I thought they would get tired of waiting. When I did finish, one of them came to me and dragged me by the arm to a nearby room. There he ordered me to undress. I started crying and begged him not to harm me. I told him that adultery was forbidden by Islam, but he replied,'l am entitled to it because I am a holy warrior, a mujahid.' Before he forced me, he said he would marry me. Then he threw me to the ground - bumed me with cigarette ends until I fainted. When I awoke, I was naked and bleeding. I realised I had lost my virginity."
Another girl, Antina, 17, told Algerian television she was kidnapped by a group of armed men who burst into her parents' home and beat up her father before taking her away. 'When my mother started screaming and shouting for help, they threatened to kill me. I was bundled into a car and taken to a building about 20 minutes away." Antina says the leader of the group, the Emir, took her as his personal concubine and raped her every day for two weeks. 'He warned if I resisted he would kill me. I was terrified. On the last day of my captivity, the Emir blindfolded me before sexually assaulting me. After that I was handed over to his assistants who put me in a car and drove away. I thought I was being taken for execution because the Emir was bored with my body. But after some time the car stopped and I was ordered to get out. When they removed the blindfold, I was standing in front of my parents' home. I couldnl believe I was still alive."
Young women victims are not only sought out in their family homes. Some fundamentalists storm government schools which they say are guilty of teaching immoral subjects such as French, music and PE that aim to corrupt innocent Muslim girls. At Mohammed El Azahar school in Blida, south of the capital, six fundamentalists broke in last summer and kidnapped Fatmeh Ghadban, 15. Minutes later, she was brought before the school gates and stabbed to death.
Before he was himself killed, the Emir, Sherif Kosami issued a religious edict, or fatwa, that gave fundamentalists the right to rape. According to this fatwa, holy warriors of Islam have the right to claim sexual pleasure before they sacrifice their own lives in the name of Allah.