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7 Algeria Troops Killed in Roadside Bomb Blast

  • VOA News

FILE - President Abdelaziz Bouteflika looks on during a swearing-in ceremony in Algiers, Algeria.

FILE - President Abdelaziz Bouteflika looks on during a swearing-in ceremony in Algiers, Algeria.

A roadside bomb killed three soldiers and four security officers in western Algeria, the defense ministry said on Sunday, the second deadly attack in the country in four months.

The attack on the military convoy in the Sidi Bel Abbes province, 440 kilometers (275 miles) west of the capital, happened late on Saturday, the ministry said in a statement.

The auxiliaries were members of the village guards - a militia formed by the government in 1994 at the height of the country's devastating decade-long civil war to fight Islamist militants.

In a statement on its website, Algeria's Defense Ministry said the soldiers were supporting local auxiliary forces when they were hit by a home-made bomb.

"This criminal act only strengthens the determination of the People's National Army to pursue and eliminate these terrorist groups and rid the country of their despicable acts," the Ministry added.

The attack was the deadliest since an April ambush claimed by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in the restive Kabylie region that killed 11 soldiers.

Those troops were heading back to their barracks after taking part in a nationwide security operation for a controversial election that brought back to power ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a fourth term.

Violence blamed on Islamists has declined considerably in recent years, but militants who battled the army during the civil war in the 1990s and later formed AQIM still operate in the Kabylie area.

At least 56 Islamists have been killed in clashes with the army since the beginning of the year, the military says.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.

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