May 21, 2009 / 1:46 PM / 10 years ago

Militants kill 5 Algerian police - papers

ALGIERS, May 21 (Reuters) - Islamist militants ambushed and shot dead five Algerian paramilitary gendarmes southwest of the capital Algiers, three newspapers reported on Thursday.

A sixth was wounded in the Wednesday attack, in which militants detonated a bomb before opening fire on two police vehicles in Medea province, 100 km (60 miles) from Algiers, the newspapers Liberte, El Khabar and Echorouk said.

The assailants took the victims’ weapons and uniforms and fled into a forest after the attack, the independent dailies said, citing local sources and eyewitnesses.

The authorities have not confirmed the reports, and there was no claim of responsibility for the attack.

A group called Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for most recent attacks in the north African country, which is emerging from more than a decade of violence that broke out in 1992.

The armed group has been weakened by government amnesties to encourage rebels to disarm. (Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; editing by Andrew Roche)

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