Algeria rebels kill 10 troops
Wednesday, December 18, 2002       5:57 AM EST 
ALGIERS, Algeria (Reuters) -- Islamic rebels killed 10 members of government forces in an ambush in western Algeria, the local Le Matin daily said on Wednesday.

Algeria has been racked by violence since early 1992 when the authorities cancelled a parliamentary election that radical islamists were poised to win.

The government says more than 100,000 people have been killed since then, although independent sources put the death toll at up to 150,000.

About 200 rebels ambushed a government force combing a guerrilla stronghold at Sidi Medjahed area, some 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Algiers, killing eight army soldiers and two pro-government militiamen on Tuesday, the paper said.

"The (ambush) toll could rise as several (pro-government militia) patriots have yet to be found when this story was printed," said Le Matin.

It gave no further details but said the authorities sent reinforcement troops to track down the rebels who fled into nearby Zaccar mountains.

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