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Algeria Closes Camp; 640 Militants Freed

<i> Associated Press</i>

In a new sign of reconciliation, the government said Wednesday that it has closed its last internment camp and freed the 640 suspected Muslim militants once held there.

The camp in southern Algeria was one of seven that held thousands of militants accused in a nearly 4-year-old insurgency that has left an estimated 40,000 people dead.

The government announced the closure in a statement but did not specify when it was shut.

Violence has been on the wane since last week’s presidential election in which incumbent Liamine Zeroual, a retired general appointed to the post last year, helped legitimize his rule by winning handily.

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In his inauguration speech Monday, Zeroual called for reconciliation and new dialogue with opponents of the military-backed government. The banned Islamic Salvation Front has also called for talks.


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