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Since autumn , whenever a soldier or a policeman on leave is murdered, young people from his neighborhood are often arrested and brutally killed the next night by mysterious commandos who sign themselves as OJAL Organisation of Young Free Algerians or OSSRA Secret Organisation for the safeguard of the Algerian Republic.
According to the media, these groups are made up of young citizens who feel the need to eradicate all forms of Islamism from Algeria. A couple of weeks later, it claimed to have abducted Cheikh Bouslimani.
In December the OJAL finally announced its aim to "rid Algerian society forever of the spectre of terrorism and those who keep it alive" in a way which strangely recalled the tactics of the French generals who attempted to carry out the same eradication. According to the evidence collected by Amnesty International at the time, the OJAL acted "as one with the security forces" and a number of people killed by these same security forces had "received death threats some time beforehand from OJAL".
In the spring of , after the murder of a schoolgirl, which was much hyped in the media, and who according to the offical version had "refused to wear her hijab", the violence of the OJAL began to increase. On the 19th March, the AFP Agence France Presse received a note without a date from them which "warned the terrorists against possible murders of patriotic Algerian women", and vowed "to avenge every woman attacked for not wearing the chador by killing 20 veiled women and 20 fanatical, bearded men".
This provoked no Government reaction. According to Tigha, "in order to camouflage their roles in the executions in the best way", while simultaneously "awakening the fear of a threat as widespread as it was unstoppable", the official services would "make sure they left messages on the corpses in writing such as: "This is the fate of those who work with the GIA", signed by the OJAL".
Tigha affirmed that the police and military were "well aware of what was going on" and that their job was to "collect and bury the corpses". Therefore by the spring of , the OJAL had become used as a cover for a horrific killing which took place to the west of Algiers. The ambush led to 16 deaths and 20 wounded military personnel. The attackers also seized their weapons. The Islamists had the power over the people, daily terrorist attacks took place against the most of the symbols of repression the police, the gendarmerie, the military and, according to some reports, and there was even talk of an "Islamic Army" being constituted in the region made up of around 3, men.
The day after the ambush, reinforcements were sent. They combed the area within a radius of 30 to 50 km from the point of the ambush. During the night between the 28th and 29th April, bearded commandos with kachabias and bandanas around their foreheads with the inscription la Illaha ila Allah There is no other God than God carried out a large number of arrests "by knocking on doors, they said: "Open up, we are the ikhwas [the brothers, i.
Islamists]", according to witnesses questioned at the time. According to their statements, they would knock on the doors of "terrorist families [ According to these witnesses, the commandos killed more than people in one week. That is how they discovered the piles of corpses of around 15 to 20 charred bodies piled up and tied together with wire. Most of the victims were faceless as their features had been burnt off on purpose.
Witnesses living in the forest reported seeing and hearing the chouhadas [martyrs] being burned at the stake. The torturers themselves could not stand their fearful cries and resorted to opening fire on them in order to end their agony. Other victims were found perched on top of trees. Some were even forked on branches. These chouahadas had been ejected from helicopters. The number of victims according to the first aid workers was . According to him, the DRS commandos had "systematically tortured" people before "burning them with gasoline in a large common pit" .
These posters were clear announcements: "Death is the penalty to whoever assisted the terrorists in the slightest way". Following this incident and a subsequent serious Amnesty International report on the links between the OJAL and the security services  , the acronym was gradually abandoned in favour of the GIA, the Armed Islamic Group.
Although the GIA is more complex than the OJAL which is basically a federation of existing armed groups including real Islamists , it has kept some of its essential characteristics: serving as cover for the acts of violence of the Special Forces.
In May , the method was again used in Bach-Djarah, in the suburbs of Algiers One May morning in , the inhabitants of Bach-Djarah, a suburb in Algiers, discovered with horror around a dozen corpses dead on their sidewalks. They belonged to people from the neighborhood. The superior replied: "What do the people in the street have to say about this?
I must phone him immediately and congratulate him". As soon as one of them falls into our hands, we cannot risk him going to prison! You see, we must help with the State finances! In May , the arrests in the Lakhdaria region increased. They had been growing their beards for 15 days. This, to Habib, meant they were preparing for a "dirty mission" where they would palm themselves off as terrorists: "Having reached the hamlet, they asked me to wait at the entrance of the village. I posted my men around the precariously built houses where very modest people lived.
After three quarters of an hour, the four officials returned with five men. They were trembling as they walked in silence, as though they knew what awaited them, with their hands tied behind their backs with wire and a hood over their heads impeding them from seeing anything.
As I returned to the police station, other colleagues, who had also been out with DRS officers, had come back with other prisoners. In other cases the inhabitants of the villages are suspected for helping the Islamist resistance and are then simply massacred by the commandos of the Special Forces. View the discussion thread. Skip to main content.
Translated by: Polisario : Threat in the Desert. Human rights. Polisario Front. Log in to post comments.
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