Islamic party urges political solution to Algerian insurgency

PARIS (AP) — The Algerian Islamic party, whose banishment sparked a bloody insurgency six years ago Sunday lambasted the military-backed government and demanded a probe of recent massacres.
But the Islamic Salvation Front, whose military wing is maintaining a truce with the army, still urged “a serious national dialogue capable of ending the bloodbath and bringing a return to peace.” It called on the government to release or lift restrictions on its leaders.
Also on Sunday, a British newspaper quoted an unidentified Algerian policeman as saying that he took part in the massacres and that government soldiers disguised as Islamic fundamentalists slaughtered civilians in nighttime attacks.
In a statement from its Germany-based “Foreign Executive Office,” the Islamic Salvation Front, known by its French initials FIS, said the government “led the country down a dark tunnel” on Jan. 11, 1992, when it canceled the results of elections the party was supposed to win.
The party, which sought a state based on Islamic law, was boosted by voter anger with corruption and high unemployment in the petroleum-rich former French colony.
Since then, the insurgency has left more than 75,000 people dead, including an estimated 1,000 people alone since the beginning of the year in massacres blamed on the more militant Armed Islamic Group.
An armed gang killed 11 more civilians overnight Saturday in Bordj-Khriss, in the Bouira area of central Algeria, Algiers authorities said Sunday.
The latest wave of massacres, in western rural areas, took place “in regions where the majority of the population voted for the FIS during the December 1991 elections,” the Front said.
Despite the killings, the government has failed to carry out a serious investigation, the party charged in its statement.
So far, Algiers has rejected suggestions from Europe and the United States for an independent investigation.