An Algerian paramilitary police barracks has been partially destroyed by an explosion and at least four people have been killed including two police officers, a security source said on Friday. The country is waging a campaign to stamp out Islamist insurgents affiliated to al Qaeda. They mount periodic ambushes and bomb attacks against government targets, although the violence has been declining. “We have at least four people killed and among them two gendarmes (paramilitary police),” said the security source. Two local people said they heard an explosion at about 3 a.m. (0200 GMT) on Friday at the barracks, which is next to a major highway in the village of Ammal, about 60 km (40 miles) east of the capital Algiers.
There was no official confirmation that there had been an attack and an officer at the barracks refused to comment on what happened. The front perimeter wall of the barracks was been completely destroyed and some of the buildings inside the perimeter had also been wrecked. The base housed a unit of the gendarmerie, or paramilitary police, who have responsibility for law and order in rural areas of Algeria.
The village of Ammal is in the Boumerdes region, a mountainous area which has in the past been a hotbed for the Islamist insurgency. The conflict reached a peak in the 1990s and in total about 200,000 people were killed, according to estimates from international non-governmental organisations. There has been a marked reduction in violence since then.
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