World News

Bomb wounds several in Algerian village: residents

ALGIERS (Reuters) - A bomb exploded near a police station in a village 50 miles east of Algiers on Saturday, wounding several people, residents said.

Further details were not immediately available about the blast in the village of Maatkas in the Kabylie region east of the capital. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The north African OPEC member country is recovering from more than a decade of violence that began in 1992 when the then army-backed government scrapped legislative elections that a radical Islamic party was poised to win. The authorities had feared an Islamic revolution.

Up to 200,000 people are estimated to have been killed.

Al Qaeda said it was behind suicide bombings in Dellys town, east of Algiers, on September 8 and a suicide blast in southeast Batna town on September 6 that killed a total of 57 people.

A small home-made bomb exploded in front of a police station in Zemmouri town about 30 miles east of Algiers on Sept 14, killing three people and wounding five.

Algeria’s violence had fallen since the 1990s, but in the past 12 months it has regained some of its former intensity, particularly in the mountainous Kabylie region.

A hard core of several hundred al Qaeda-linked rebels fight on in Kabylie from remote bases in dense forests.

The death toll from political violence fell to 60 in October from 75 in September, although casualties among rebels grew as government forces stepped up raids on al Qaeda hideouts, according to a Reuters count based on newspaper reports.

Reporting by Abdelaziz Boumzar; writing by William Maclean; editing by Andrew Dobbie