Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • Limited 12-hour humanitarian truce takes effect in Gaza

    Read more

  • Video: No investigation apparent at MH17 crash site

    Read more

  • In pictures: Devastation, debris at Air Algérie crash site

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Kerry due in Paris for new round of Gaza ceasefire talks

    Read more

  • Washington Post reporter and his wife arrested in Iran

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Fans electrify the mood as Tour de France crosses the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Islamist head calls for rebels to lay down arms

Latest update : 2008-08-20

In the wake of a suicide bombing at an Algerian paramilitary training centre that killed 43 people and injured 45 Tuesday, the founder of Algeria's most prominent Islamist rebel group called on militants to lay down their arms.

 

ALGIERS, Aug 19 - The founder of Algeria's largest Islamist rebel group called on al Qaeda-linked militants to lay down their arms on Tuesday after a bomb killed dozens of people at a military academy.

 

Hassan Hattab, founder of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), surrendered to the authorities last year in response to a government amnesty aimed at drawing a line under years of civil conflict that left around 150,000 people dead.

 

The bloodshed has eased in recent years but a hard core of several hundred GSPC rebels adopted the Al Qaeda name early in 2007 and began a campaign of deadly urban bombings from their stronghold in the mountainous Kabylie region east of Algiers.

 

"I advise you to reconsider and refrain from what you are doing and return to the arms of your society and your families," Hattab was quoted as saying in an appeal to the rebels.

 

"I advise you ... not to hesitate in laying down your weapons," he said in comments published by the Algerian newspaper Ennahar, which specialises in security matters.

 

On Tuesday, a suicide bomber rammed his car into a group of prospective paramilitary gendarmes lining up to get into the school for qualifying exams, witnesses said.

 

The government said 43 people were killed and 45 wounded in what it called a "cowardly" attack.

 

Hattab had already criticised the GSPC in March 2006, calling on its members to accept the amnesty, more than a year before his formal surrender was announced.

 

Security experts say Hattab is still influential in Islamist militant circles.

 

"We have reviewed our course of action sincerely and concluded that it is a dead end with no exit and that it was a Sharia duty to stop fighting," the paper cited Hattab as saying in its Web edition.

 

Algeria plunged into violence in 1992 after the army-backed authorities, fearing an Iran-style revolution, scrapped a parliamentary election that an Islamist party was set to win.

 

The GSPC was founded in 1998 when Hattab broke away from the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) in protest at its many massacres of civilians.

 

Hattab was condemned to life in prison in absentia in June 2006 for "killing and membership of a terrorist group".

 

Date created : 2008-08-20

COMMENT(S)