Islamic guerrillas disband




By Mark Huband in Cairo

Financial Times, 6 January 2000

The armed wing of Algeria’s Islamic Salvation Front (Fis) disbanded¬† yesterday after last minute talks with army generals prevented the collapse of the accord under which the fighters were to surrender, state radio reported yesterday. Details of the agreement have not been announced. The Islamic Salvation Army (AIS) agreed last June that it would permanently end all military conflict with the army, and would join the fight against two extremist Islamist groups who had rejected dialogue with the government. In return, AIS fighters were to be granted full civil and political rights. The AIS on Monday suspended the accord claiming that 200 former AIS combatants who had returned to their homes had been denied these rights and were being treated like members of other armed groups. It is uncertain whether yesterday’s agreement specifically addresses the situation of the former AIS combatants, or the demand by the Fis that it be allowed to play a full political role in Algeria where seven years of conflict have left 100,000 people dead.

© Financial Times