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Ex-Algerian Premier Killed in Ambush

August 23, 1993| From Associated Press

ALGIERS — Former Prime Minister Kasdi Merbah, an advocate of dialogue with violent Islamic extremists, was assassinated in an ambush that also killed his son, brother and two others.

Algeria's military-backed rulers blamed Islamic extremists for the killings Saturday night and renewed a vow to fight "terrorist barbarity that spares neither mother, son, brother nor neighbor."

But the small nationalist opposition party that Merbah headed, the Algerian Movement for Justice and Development, hinted that other elements might be involved.

As recently as July 12, Merbah, who was also a former head of the country's dreaded political police, had advocated dialogue with Islamic extremists to restore "civil peace" to the country.

Merbah and his entourage were attacked with automatic pistol fire by a band of five men while driving in Alger-Plage, a coastal resort 12 miles east of the capital, police said.

In addition to his two family members, his bodyguard and chauffeur also were killed. The attackers escaped.

Merbah, 55, is the second government figure killed in the political violence that has left more than 1,200 dead since January, 1992, when the military-backed regime seized power. Mohammed Boudiaf, first president of the ruling Council of State, was slain June 29, 1992.

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