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Algerians back amnesty for Islamic militants

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Algerians back amnesty for Islamic militants

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Algerians have overwhelming backed a partial amnesty for militants fighting for a purist Islamic state. More than 79 percent of voters said yes to the government’s peace plan aimed at ending a decade long civil war that is left around 100,000 people dead. In provinces hardest hit by the conflict, voter participation exceeded 90 percent.

Opposition groups had urged a boycott, saying there could be no reconciliation without proper justice. Many also accused President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of using the referendum to strengthen his grip on power as rebels who give up their arms will not be allowed to participate in politics. Others claim it absolves the state of any responsibility without any abuse cases ever having been investigated. But Bouteflika argued that the charter is the only way for Algeria to modernise and boost its ties with the West.