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La LADDH: 9 Million Victims in Algeria during French Colonial Rule | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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File photo: Algerians celebrate 50 years of independence in 2012. Reuters/Louafi Larbi

Algiers-On the 54th anniversary of Algeria’s independence, La LADDH, an Algerian organization entrusted with defending human rights, reported that the number of Algerians killed during the French colonial rule in 1830-1962 exceeded nine million martyrs.

In a report on the crimes committed by colonial France in Algeria during the rule, La LADDH revealed that these numbers are based on writings of French and Algerian historians. It also compared France’s murders to ISIS, noting the absence of a political willingness to officially incriminate France.

La LADDH criticized the fact that the Algerian authorities disregarded those martyrs.

However, a group of parliamentarians, belonging to the majority, proposed an initiative in 2009 to incriminate the colonial rule but their attempt was foiled by the presidency.

Commenting on this matter, Minister of Mujahideen Tayeb Zitouni said that French-Algerian relations will not normalize unless this issue is tackled completely; pointing out to some demands including that France admits its crimes and pays compensations to the victims or their families.

When asked about the Algerians considered missing, Zitouni said during a radio interview that the Ministry of Mujahideen count up to 2,000 missing in action while the French authorities consider the number is exaggerated.

Zitouni was asked about returning the skulls of fighters who were killed during that period and are now exposed in Parisian museums. He replied: “This is another evidence to the ugliness of the conquest that did not only sever the heads of the mujahideen but also put them in museums.”

Zitouni was also questioned about any updates related to the Liberation War archive that France is delaying to hand over to Algeria. “Despite the explicit statements promising to do so, we saw no practical steps. Frankly speaking, we did not reach yet an improvement that satisfies us,” he replied.