An armed group massacred 93 villagers early Tuesday in the bloodiest such attack since the start of an Islamic insurgency five years ago, authorities said.

Security forces announced without comment the death toll, which included women and children, in the pre-dawn massacre in the village of Haouch Mokfi, about 12 miles south of Algiers.Members of a family who fled the area described the heavily armed group as Islamic guerrillas. They said the group began killing villagers because they refused to "collaborate."

Armed groups depend for their survival on the aid of ordinary citizens who provide food, money and other necessities.

"We have no more to give. They've already taken everything," said one member of the family that arrived in the capital. He and his kin spoke on condition of anonymity.

No further details were available.

Village massacres around Algiers have become common since the start of the insurgency.

Tuesay's massacre was the biggest single mass killing since the birth of the insurgency after the army canceled January 1992 legislative elections to thwart a victory by an Islamic fundamentalist party. At least 60,000 people have been killed in the conflict between security forces and militants.