Peace Call Amid Algeria's Carnage

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PARIS: Following a bloody spree that has seen more than 500 people massacred since late August, Algeria's banned Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) is urging the group blamed for the attacks to halt the killings. Government sources say Tuesday's massacre in an Algiers suburb was carried out by an FIS rival called the Armed Islamic Group, which was locked out of elections it had been set to win back in 1991.

But the violence which has sometimes taken place near Army barracks may be happening with the complicit knowledge of President Liamine Zeroual's military-backed government, says TIME Paris correspondent Scott MacLeod. It is difficult to investigate such claims in a country where reporters are routinely murdered, but it is certainly true that hard-liners in the government are opposed to negotiations with Islamic groups and as MacLeod says, they "might be turning a blind eye to the attacks with a view toward making it politically impossible to reach out to the militants." Tuesday's atrocity may disrupt secret talks between the militants and the government that are apparently underway keeping hardliners happy.