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Algerians Vote on National Peace Plan


Polls are open in Algeria in a national referendum on a government peace plan aimed at ending a 13-year Islamist insurgency that has claimed more than 120,000 lives.

Authorities say more than 18 million Algerians are eligible to vote on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's plan - the Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation.

The plan offers amnesty to rebels in prison, on the run or still fighting, excluding those involved in large scale massacres. It also calls for reparations for families of those who disappeared during the uprising.

Opponents say the charter is a ploy by the president to further consolidate his power. They point out that the plan would allow the government to handle the cases of the missing, despite allegations that government troops were involved in many of those cases.

Algeria plunged into violence in 1992, when the military-led government annulled legislative elections that Islamists were poised to win.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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