RealNews

Algerians Hope For Calmer Ramadan As Rebels Fade

Algerians hope to celebrate their calmest holy month in a decade as peace returns to a country once labelled a pariah state for brutal rebel violence that led to more than 150,000 deaths. People in this North African country crowded markets on Sunday to stock up on meat and vegetables at the dawn of Ramadan, with sharply inflated food prices uppermost in their minds. Ramadan was nicknamed “Jihad (holy war) month” for being Algeria’s most barbaric period of the year for much of the 1990s, as rebels slit the throats of inhabitants of entire villages and blew up packed buses in cities. A few years ago more than 1,200 were killed during Ramadan compared with less than 90 last year. “People were traumatised, they didn’t go to markets, public places or cafes,” said Mounir Boudjema, an expert on Algerian rebel groups. “The talk of food prices is a sign Algeria is returning to normality.” Extremist groups took up arms to overthrow the government and set up a purist religious state after authorities cancelled parliamentary elections a radical Islamic party was poised to win in 1992. Full Story

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