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Algeria: Extremist Surrenders after 12 Years in Terrorist Strongholds | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Algeria’s President and head of the Armed Forces Abdelaziz Bouteflika (L) gestures while talking with Army Chief of Staff General Ahmed Gaid Salah during a graduation ceremony of the 40th class of the trainee army officers at a Military Academy in Cherchell 90 km west of Algiers June 27, 2012. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

Algeria- An armed Algerian extremist left terrorist strongholds and surrendered to local military authorities after spending 12 years in the ranks of extremist groups.

Meanwhile, the Algerian army command announced dismantling thousands of anti-personnel mines, dating back to the French colonial period between 1830 and 1962.

On its official website, Algeria’s Ministry of National Defense described the terrorist who surrendered on Sunday in El Milia as “dangerous.”

“D. Fares” aka “Abu Osama,” who had joined terrorist groups in 2005, had a Kalashnikov type machine gun, ammunition and a pair of binoculars, said a statement from the Defense Ministry.

The Ministry neither did mention the organization to which the terrorist belonged nor the crimes he may have committed while operating; however, the most famous extremist groups is known as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC).

In this context, the Ministry launched again an appeal to remaining terrorists to seize the opportunity and benefit from the regulations in force, like those who surrendered to the security authorities.

In reference to the policy of national reconciliation, judicial pursue against militants is abolished in case they voluntarily renounced terrorism and hand themselves to the authorities.

On the other hand, Algerian Defense Ministry on Monday announced the destruction of the last stockpile of anti-personnel mines in an operation.

Chief of Staff of the People’s National Army Ahmed Gaid Salah supervised the final stage of the public destruction operation of 5,970 anti-personnel mines, which have been retained for training purposes in the province of Djelfa, 300 km south of Algiers.

General Salah, who is also the deputy Defense Minister, said Monday that “Algeria has fulfilled its international obligations by destroying the remaining stockpile of anti-personnel mines held by the army in accordance with Ottawa Convention (Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction).”

Algeria ratified the treaty on 17 December 2000. The operation on Monday is the last of a series of destruction launched by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika since 24 November 2004.

Gaid Salah stressed that Algerian people have been suffering from mines for decades now, and that led to starting firm effort to clear Algerian territory from anti-personnel mines.

He announced that the Algerian army has discovered and destructed about nine million mines and completed the clearance of more than 62,000 hectares of agricultural and pastoral land since 1963.

Most of the mines were planted during the Second World War and the French colonial period.