________________________________________________________________________ We'll deal with our terrorists ourselves, Algeria says Copyright ) 1998 Nando.net Copyright ) 1998 Reuters ALGIERS (January 8, 1998 06:18 a.m. EST http://www.nando.net) - Under foreign pressure after massacres of up to 1,000 civilians in 10 days, the Algerian government urged its people to mobilize against "terrorism" and reiterated its refusal to allow an international inquiry into the mass slaughter. "The bloody and blind terrorist is targeting the Algerian people without any distinction in their ranks, particularly since the start of the holy month of Ramadan," the government said, vowing to hunt down the killers. The statement late Wednesday came just hours after security forces announced 62 deaths in attacks in the western province of Relizane and that a huge manhunt was under way. But the cabinet denounced what it called the "dramatic retraction" by the international community in its commitment to combat "terrorism." Several Western nations, expressing horror at the massacres, have urged Algiers to do more to protect civilians and called for an international inquiry to look into the killings. "Algeria, the sovereign state, renews it categorical rejection of any attempt to interfere in its internal affairs," said the statement after Wednesday's cabinet meeting. "The government considers any attempt (to establish an inquiry) ... as aimed at planting doubt regarding the source of terrorism ... and a stand that Algeria condemns and absolutely rejects." The government blames Muslim rebels for the massacres. "The government renews its call to Algerian men and women to be vigilant and mobilize around the national struggle against barbaric terrorism," it said. Despite its angry rejection of "interference," Algeria has agreed to receive a special envoy from Canada who will urge Algiers to be more open in dealing with the massacres, an official said in Ottawa on Wednesday. The United States also stuck to its call for an inquiry but, after its ambassador in Algeria was lectured about interference, tried to make its idea more palatable to the Algerians by saying the aim would be to seek facts, not blame the government. And the German and British foreign ministers agreed Wednesday that a European Union delegation should visit Algeria to help the government end the massacres. "We cannot and must not simply watch passively as the murder in Algeria takes place," said Germany's Klaus Kinkel. Britain's Robin Cook said the EU wanted to discuss with Algiers steps to end the massacres and that Britain, as current EU president, would put the matter to the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting Jan. 26. Algeria has consistently rejected foreign involvement in dealing with its 6-year-old insurgency, in which tens of thousands of people have died.
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