January 30, 2020 / 3:02 PM / 21 days ago

Algeria captures man planning suicide attack: defense ministry

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria’s army has captured a man planning a suicide attack targeting peaceful anti-government protest marches in the capital, the defense ministry said on Thursday.

The man, named by the ministry only as Bachir R, was arrested in the Birtouta district of Algiers on Wednesday with an explosive belt, it said in a statement, without providing further details.

Algerians have been staging weekly mass protests each Friday for nearly a year to demand the departure of the ruling elite despite promises by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to carry out political reforms.

The demonstrators rejected a presidential vote in December that led to the election of Tebboune as the successor to Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was forced to resign in April last year after ruling for 20 years.

Tebboune has promised to meet some of the protesters’ demands, including by amending Algeria’s constitution to give a greater role to the government and parliament.

Algeria endured a decade of violence in the 1990s between the government and Islamist militants that left an estimated 200,000 people dead.

Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed, editing by Angus McDowall and Gareth Jones

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