Current situation in Algiers; whether terrorist groups are present; whether there is state protection; whether policemen are acting with impunity; whether members of police or army are corrupted [DZA35700.E]

The following information was provided in a telephone interview on 18 December 2000 with the head of the Amnesty International delegation who went to Algeria from 5 to 19 November 2000 for a second visit this year. The delegation head stated that there is no problem in Algiers itself. Although the capital is no longer hit by violence, during the time they were there, a policeman was shot to death in Algiers and some people were worried about this incident (18 Dec. 2000). However, the cause of the shooting remains unknown; it could have been a settling of accounts. The situation must be followed closely because it is tense and things can change quickly. Acts of violence are still occurring in communities outside the capital. For instance, a few days ago, in Médéa, 60 kms from Algiers, a group of students were killed by members of an armed group (ibid.).

The delegation head said that it is very difficult to generalize and state that the police or the army is corrupt in Algeria. There are elements of corruption, but one cannot make general statements. For example, recently, two policemen had put up sham roadblocks. Sometimes, police or military personnel will be punished for reprehensible acts they commit, sometimes not. Once again, it is not possible to generalize. Each case must be examined (18 Dec. 2000).

The following is an account of a BBC News reporter who visited Algiers in October 2000:

More than 200 people have been killed in an upsurge of violence in Algeria since the middle of September, but the capital Algiers, gives no outward impression of being a city under siege...
The last bomb exploded in the capital a few years ago, and some security measures are still visibly in place...
But strolling down the working-class district of Bab-el-Oued, once a hotbed of Islamic militancey, is no longer an unreasonable thing for visitors to do.
Even the old city, the Casbah, with its maze of steep, narrow streets, is not a no-go area any more (1 Nov. 2000).

For more information on the areas hit by the violence in Algeria, please see DZA35018.FE of 20 July 2000.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


BBCNews. 1 November 2000. "Algiers: Eye of the Storm." [Accessed 19 Dec. 2000]

Head of Amnesty International delegation to Algeria, Ottawa. 18 December 2000. Telephone interview.