‘Dozen wounded’ in clashes between rival Algeria groups

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At least a dozen people have been injured in violence between two rival communities in the Algerian oasis town of Ghardaia, a human rights activist and national media said on Tuesday.

Algeria’s national news agency APS said a dozen people were lightly injured in the clashes, including several policemen.

Kameleddine Fekhar, the representative for the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights in the M’zab region, 600 kilometers south of Algiers, said “dozens” of people from the Mozabite community had been hospitalized.

The clashes pitted young Chaambas of Arab origin against the Berber Mozabite minority who adhere to the Ibadi faith, an offshoot of a dissident Shiite sect.

Violence erupted following a dispute over a Mozabite cemetery that the Chaambas wanted “to appropriate with the help of falsified property records,” said Fekhar, himself a Mozabite.

The APS news agency said the clashes broke out when youths from the two communities began throwing petrol bombs at each other and the situation got out of hand.

Riot police deployed around Ghardaia and fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the youths.

The governor of Ghardaia, Ahmed Adli, has ordered an inquiry into the violence and is “taking appropriate action against the perpetrators,” APS said.

In May 2008, two people were killed in three days of clashes between the Chaambas and the Mozabites in the southern town of Berriane.

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