ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) – Islamic insurgents killed three youths gathering chestnuts in a forest south of Algiers, triggering a search by soldiers for the culprits, the Interior Ministry said Sunday.
The killings outside Medea — a haunt for insurgents in the 1990s but now generally calm — raises concern that the violence that once plagued the region could be on the return.
Five youths gathering chestnuts Friday in the Layoune forest, 10 kilometers (six miles) south of Medea, were attacked Kalashnikov rifle fire, the ministry said. Two were killed on the spot and a third body was found Saturday, the statement said. Two other youths escaped.
The ages of the victims were not made available, nor was it known if they were boys or girls.
Soldiers backed by local communal guards, who are citizens armed by authorities, were searching the area for the attackers, the statement said.
In the 1990s. the Medea region was under the control of the Armed Islamic Group, which claimed responsibility for numerous village massacres and other brutality at the height of the insurgency. The area has been largely calm in recent years.