November 10, 1997 in Nation/World

Assailants Kill 23 Algerians At Fake Police Roadblock

Compiled From Wire Services

Attackers disguised as police officers decapitated 28 civilians in two separate attacks in northwestern Algeria, residents of the area said Sunday.

In the first attack, 23 people were pulled from their cars between the towns of Slissen and Tajmout late Friday and massacred, one person who escaped said.

The assailants stopped cars at a fake police roadblock, took the victims out of their cars, bound them with electrical wire and slit their throats, said the escapee, who refused to be identified by name for fear of reprisals.

Nobody claimed responsibility for the massacre, which took place in a region that had been controlled by the Armed Islamic Group, one of the rebel groups trying to overthrow the military-backed government.

In another attack, five young shepherds were killed the same night near the town of Mascara by armed attackers, who then stole the herd of sheep the shepherds tended, residents of the region said.

The victims were the latest in an insurgency unleashed after the military-backed regime canceled legislative elections in 1992 that the now banned Islamic Salvation Front was poised to win.

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