By Karim Kabir, The Associated Press on July 8, 2015.
Clashes between Berber and Arab communities in southern Algeria have claimed at least 22 lives, state media outlets report.
The violence that erupted over the weekend was some of the worst in years in the flashpoint region where tensions often run high between Arabs and Mozabite Berbers – one of the Amazigh people of North Africa – competing for jobs, houses and land.
The official APS news agency said most of the deaths were from “projectiles” and occurred in Guerrara, 120 kilometers (75 miles) northeast of Ghardaia.
Interior Minister Noureddine Bedoui arrived in Ghardaia early on Wednesday, as tribal leaders called for “vigilance and wisdom”, the official APS news agency reported. One person was fatally wounded in Ghardaia when hit by a rock to the head.
Homes, shops, public buildings, cars and palm groves were set on fire in the area of Guerrara and the region’s main town of Ghardaia, 600km south of Algiers. Dozens of others were injured, some seriously, APS said.
There was no immediate reaction to the latest violence from Algerian authorities.
Hundreds of homes and shops, mostly of Mozabites, have been ransacked in and around Ghardaia since centuries-old good ties between the area’s Arabs and Berbers broke down in December 2013, mostly over property disputes and after vandals destroyed a historic Berber shrine in December 2013.
Ghardaia, a Unesco world heritage site, has been at the epicentre of the unrest.
The three-point plan issued by the president’s office Wednesday also included an order to put in place already-decided programs to spur economic and social development.