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Algeria: Beheaded monks victims of plot by military - Independent, UK

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  • Zafar Khan
    Beheaded monks victims of plot by military By John Lichfield in Paris 24 December 2002 http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/story.jsp?story=364236 Seven French
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 26, 2002
      Beheaded monks victims of plot by military
      By John Lichfield in Paris
      24 December 2002

      http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/story.jsp?story=364236

      Seven French monks beheaded by "Islamist" terrorists
      in Algeria in 1996 were the victims of a plot by the
      Algerian military government, the newspaper Libération
      said yesterday. In the latest of a series of
      allegations on the involvement of the Algerian
      military in apparent Islamist crimes, a former
      Algerian security officer said the Trappist monks were
      kidnapped in March 1996 by a terror group that was
      controlled by the army.

      The intention was to remove the monks from a sensitive
      area and to persuade the French government to support
      the Algerian regime in its fight against Islamic
      fundamentalist "terrorism", Abdelkadr Tigha told the
      newspaper.

      He said fellow agents kidnapped the monks from their
      monastery at Tiberhirine, near Medea, south-west of
      Algiers, and handed them to a double agent in the
      hardline Armed Islamic Group (GIA). The GIA admitted
      it had murdered the monks after the French and
      Algerian governments refused to negotiate.

      Mr Tigha was a brigadier in the Algerian military
      security service, the Departément du Renseignement et
      Securité, at the height of the so-called dirty war in
      Algeria in 1993-97, when hundreds of people, including
      117 foreigners, were murdered by terrorists claiming
      to belong to the GIA.

      In December 1999, Mr Tigha fled from Algeria and is in
      prison in Thailand, accused of overstaying his visa.
      In an interview given to Libération in prison, Mr
      Tigha said at least some of the groups acting in the
      name of fundamentalist Islam in Algeria in the
      Nineties were formed or controlled by the army, which
      wished to discredit the Islamists and encourage an
      atmosphere of terror.

      Similar allegations have been made by other Algerian
      former military or intelligence officers. During a
      trial in Paris in July, a former colonel, Mohamed
      Samraoui, said that "beyond a certain point" the
      Algerian military had "lost control of the groups we
      had created or infiltrated. We didn't know which
      groups were which any more, whether they were ours or
      not."



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