Algerian village protests after shooting blunder

ALGIERS — An Algerian village was on strike for a second day Saturday after a civilian was shot dead by soldiers in error after a bomb attack, press reports said.

The incident on Thursday prompted a rare statement from the defence ministry admitting the mistake and expressing its condolences to the family.

Father of five Moustapha Dial was fired upon by troops who raided a villa where he was caretaker and seriously wounded, the press reports said, quoting witnesses. He was finished off by another burst of gunfire as he tried to seek aid.

The troops entered two other villas in Azazga in the Kabylie region, some 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Algiers, the reports added.

The defence ministry said that earlier Thursday a bomb attack on a military patrol killed one soldier and wounded another.

“During the response by the patrol and the pursuit of the terrorist group responsible for the attack, a citizen was killed by mistake,” the ministry said Friday.

The regional governor of Tizi Ouzou, Abdelkader Bouazghi, reacted angrily, saying, “There was a man killed, sacking, theft, destruction of property and violation of privacy.”

“Nothing explains such behaviour,” he added.

Dial was to be buried later Saturday in his home village of Souama, some 20 kilometres from Azazga. A protest rally was planned to follow the funeral.

Earlier this month, the minister for Maghreb and African affairs, Abdelkader Messahel, admitted there has been an increase in attacks in Algeria blamed on radical Islamists.

“It is not by chance,” he added, claiming it was due to “arms and munitions coming from Libya” — the neighbouring country in the throes of an armed uprising against Moamer Kadhafi’s regime.
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