22 Algeria Rebels Slain; Opposition Agrees on Plan to End Civil War

From Times Wire Services

Twenty-two Muslim insurgents were reported killed in the last few days, supporters and critics of the government held protests, and opposition leaders agreed Thursday on proposals to end Algeria's 3-year-old civil war.

Security forces killed the militants in seven clashes in northern Algeria on Tuesday and Wednesday, the security forces said.

In almost the same period, suspected Muslim rebels killed 16 people, including four Muslim worshipers shot dead Monday outside a mosque in the eastern town of Barika.

The military-installed regime of President Liamine Zeroual says it is prepared to negotiate an end to the bloodshed, but only with groups that renounce violence. Opposition groups meeting in Rome agreed on a proposal for settling the conflict, but it does not include an end to attacks.

"I think it is right for people to defend their constitutional rights even with arms," said Anwar Haddam of the outlawed Islamic Salvation Front, which rose up after the government canceled 1992 elections that the front was sure to win. More than 15,000 people have died in the insurgency.

The talks in Rome between the Islamic Salvation Front and legal opposition parties appeared to further isolate the Zeroual regime.

But the government still drew thousands of supporters into the streets Thursday.

"Algerian Algeria, no to the Rome talks," chanted thousands of demonstrators in Ain Turk, near the western city of Oran, in a rally broadcast on government television.

The demonstrators, estimated by the government news service to number 40,000, carried banners in support of Zeroual.

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