CAIRO ø Algeria has reported the surrender of dozens of Islamic
insurgents over the last month.
Algerian officials said the insurgents who have given themselves up come
from a range of Islamic groups. They include the Armed Islamic Group and the
Salafist Brigade for Combat and Call.
The insurgents were said to have requested amnesty as part of an offer
relayed by Algerian President Abdul Aziz Bouteflika in 2002. At the time,
only a few hundred of the more than 10,000 insurgents were said to have
In April 2004, Bouteflika renewed his so-called reconciliation campaign, Middle East Newsline reported.
In late May, Algerian authorities announced the arrival of insurgents to
police stations where they applied for amnesty.
"The state reaches out to anybody who seeks to respond to the
reconciliation call and leave the circle of those ostracized," Algerian
Prime Minister Ahmed Yehia said.
So far, officials reported that 18 insurgents surrendered to authorities
during the last week of May. The insurgents were said to have come from
locations throughout Algiera.
"The national reconciliation project is a large-scale and all-out
project aimed at boosting national unity, recovering state authority and
dignity and restoring civic awareness," Yehia said.
Nine members of the Salafist group have also surrendered, officials
said. Two Salafist commanders were said to have surrendered in May in Jijil,
kilometers east of Algiers.
Officials said the insurgents rejected a warning by Salafist leader
Nabil Sahrawi to ignore the amnesty offer. They said the two Salafist
held negotiations with authorities prior to their surrender.