September 2, 1997 in Nation/World

Algerian Islamic Leader Placed Under House Arrest

Associated Press

The former leader of an outlawed Islamic group was placed under house arrest and ordered to limit his contacts on Monday, a day after he publicly appealed for talks to end Algeria’s bloody insurgency.

The Algerian government threatened to imprison Abassi Madani if he left his home or had contact with anyone other than family members.

Madani, the former leader of the Islamic Salvation Front, spent six years in prison before being released on July 15.

Though he had been warned to refrain from political activity, Madani issued an open letter Sunday urging the United Nations to “open a serious dialogue” to end the 5-1/2-year Islamic insurgency against the secular government. More than 60,000 people have been killed.

His appeal came as Islamic militants were blamed for the deaths of 33 more civilians, including 13 children, over the weekend. Security forces also killed 15 suspected militants in a gunfight Sunday, sources said on condition of anonymity.

In his letter, Madani said he was “ready to launch an appeal to bring an immediate end to the blood bath.”

It was an unusually conciliatory message by Madani, who wants to establish an Islamic state in Algeria based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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