More brutal killings including chainsaw butchery have underscored Algeria's chronic insecurity, and June elections are unlikely to end the violence, political analysts in Algeria say.
The June 5 ballot to elect the country's first parliament in five years is seen by President Liamine Zeroual as a way out of five years of crisis, but one Algiers-based analyst said: "The situation is not going to be solved by one election."In four days ending early this week, more than 120 people were reported to have been butchered in attacks by Moslem fundamentalist rebels on isolated villages, Algerian newspapers said.
Some were cut up by chainsaws. Others had their throats slit.
The authorities have been silent.
But lack of reaction to the reports in a heavily controlled media is seen by many analysts as tacit confirmation.
Another political analyst said: "There are some places now that are as safe as Washington or London. But then you look at the mountains outside Algiers, and it's a tough, ugly scene up there.
"But people killed in the mountains does not mean it will have an impact on the voting. And it is hard to say when it will end. The election will not necessarily end it all, especially as some of the killings seem to have moved away from (a rationale of) Islamic ideology."
Radical Moslem fundamentalism has been well-rooted in the Mitidja area where the latest killings occurred since the 1980s when Mustapha Bouyali tried to launch the country's first serious guerrilla war. He was killed by security forces in 1986.
Security analysts say at least some of the bloodshed seemed to result from guerrillas determined to punish some who, tired from the long conflict, had either given up or gone over to government forces.
The killers were butchering families to send a message to those who might be tempted by the authorities' offer of clemency.
Many of the killings are blamed on the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) that sprang up after the outlawing of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) - the radical party that had taken a big lead in a December 1991 general election.
The authorities scrapped the poll the next month and the North African country has been without an elected parliament since then.
Until the latest killings, there had been a lull in attacks on isolated villages which, along with car bombs in Algiers and nearby towns, scarred the Moslem holy month of Ramadan, which ended early in February. More than 300 people were killed in that month. About 60,000 have been killed since early 1992.
Diplomatic sources and political analysts agree that the latest violence may not be linked directly to the elections, despite expectations that rebels might try to disrupt them.