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DEMOCRACY
Hackers of Oman news agency target Bouteflika
by Staff Writers
Muscat (AFP) April 20, 2014


Hackers on Sunday targeted the website of Oman's official news agency, singling out and mocking Algeria's newly re-elected president Abdelaziz Bouteflika as a handicapped "dictator".

Oman News Agency said its website had been hacked and that "false" reports were posted on the site.

The hackers reportedly distorted a news story about a letter from Oman's Sultan Qaboos to Bouteflika congratulating him for securing a fourth term in Thursday's presidential election.

In the false letter, the Omani leader described Bouteflika as a "handicapped" president of the "dictatorship" of Algeria, according to newspapers in the Gulf and North Africa.

He also wished Bouteflika a "10th tenure" as a president, in a sarcastic reference to the Algerian leader's 15 years in power, the reports said.

The letter was removed from ONA's website.

ONA apologised to its clients, saying it continues to publish stories that agree with the sultanate's policy of "mutual respect with brotherly and friendly states".

Bouteflika, 77, was re-elected with more than 80 percent of the vote despite having suffered a stroke last year that prevented him from campaigning in person.

Gunmen kill 11 Algerian soldiers in ambush: ministry
Algiers (AFP) April 20, 2014 - Gunmen killed 11 Algerian soldiers in an ambush overnight, the defence ministry said on Sunday, in the first attack of its kind since President Abdelaziz Bouteflika won a fourth term.

The attack took place in the restive Kabylie region east of Algiers, where discontent with the ailing 77-year-old Bouteflika was most evident during the presidential election.

The troops were from a unit that had been deployed as part of a security operation during Thursday's vote and were heading back to their barracks when they were ambushed, the ministry said.

Eleven soldiers were killed in the attack in which two of the assailants also died, said a statement. The national APS news agency said earlier that 14 troops were killed, citing a security source.

The defence ministry said a convoy of the People's National Army was attacked by a "terrorist group" near Iboudrarene in Kabylie, and that five soldiers were also wounded.

"Such criminal action only serves to reinforce the army's determination to eliminate diehard terrorist groups," the ministry said.

It said a search operation for the assailants was under way in Iboudrarene, a cluster of around 10 villages, and that "so far three terrorists were eliminated and two Kalashnikov assault rifles seized."

Witnesses said security reinforcements had been dispatched to Kabylie, a rugged region where Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is active and has carried out operations against government forces.

The attackers laid the ambush on a main road between two villages in the mountainous region where Islamist militants who battled the army during the civil war in the 1990s still operate.

A defence ministry statement said earlier that the "Boumerdes-Tizi Ouzou-Bouira road (in Kabylie) remains the area where anti-terrorist operations have had the most significant results" this year.

Later Sunday, APS, quoting a security source, reported that army soldiers had killed two suspected Islamic extremists in the rural town of Djelfa.

Their bodies were taken to the morgue in the city some 300 kilometres (180 miles) south of the capital Algiers, the source said, adding that the soldiers recovered two weapons.

Thirty-seven militants were killed by troops across Algeria during the first quarter of 2014, including 21 in Kabylie, the defence ministry statement said, calling the fighters "terrorists".

Algeria mobilised around 260,000 security forces for Thursday's presidential elections, in which Bouteflika won a fourth consecutive term.

Clashes between police and youths seeking to disrupt the vote left some 70 people wounded on Thursday, according to sources in Kabylie, and voting was temporarily suspended in some areas.

The election was marred by low turnout and allegations of fraud.

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