Algerian Troops Clash With Islamist Gunmen

Algerian security forces stand guard on a ridge looking down on the Algerian city of Ghardaia during an operation to secure the city following sectarian clashes.  (Farouk Batiche,  AFP)

Algerian soldiers killed two Islamist gunmen on Wednesday during an ongoing operation against Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb group, the defence ministry said.

The two were killed near Ain el-Hamra village in the Boumerdes region, some 50km east of Algiers.

Troops also recovered a Kalashnikov assault rifle and ammunition.

The ministry said the operation against AQIM in the area was still under way.

Algeria still bears the scars of a brutal war between the state and Islamist insurgents in the 1990s.

Despite the adoption in 2005 of a peace and reconciliation charter that was meant to turn the page on a conflict that claimed 200 000 lives, armed Islamist groups are still active.

In July, at least nine soldiers were killed in an ambush southwest of Algiers, an attack claimed by AQIM, which said more than 14 died.

The ministry says that more than 60 Islamists have been killed this year, and that upwards of 100 were killed in 2014.

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