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Country Reports
ALGERIA, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports


Mine Ban Policy

Algeria signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and called for “immediate and resolute action from all governments.”[1] Algeria has yet to ratify the treaty despite President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s assurances that “Algeria will be diligent in completing the ratification process of the Convention and guaranteeing its implementation, adapting, if so needed, its legislation.”[2] The ratification process appears to still be at the first stage of consideration by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, before it is sent to the Council of Ministers, National Assembly, and then to the Council of the Nation.[3]

Algeria attended the First Meeting of States Parties in Maputo in May 1999. The Algerian Ambassador to Mozambique stated that given the effects of landmines on its war-torn nation, Algeria is firmly committed to banning these weapons. He said that a National Algerian Committee Against Antipersonnel Landmines had been established, in conjunction with the Chief of Government, to develop a program against AP mines, focusing primarily on the socio-economic reintegration of mine victims and enhancing cooperation in the spirit of the Mine Ban Treaty.[4]

Algeria has not participated in any of the ban treaty Intersessional Standing Committee of Experts meetings. Algeria voted in favor of the December 1999 UN General Assembly resolution supporting the Mine Ban Treaty, as it had similar resolutions in 1997 and 1998.

Algeria is not party to Convention on Conventional Weapons. It is a member of the Conference on Disarmament, but has not spoken on the mine issue.

Use, Production, Transfer, Stockpiling

Algeria is not believed to have either produced or exported AP mines. In the past, Algeria has imported mines and explosives from Italy, France, Yugoslavia, UK, and China.[5] It is believed that Algeria's security forces have a stockpile of mines but its size and composition is not known.

There are continuing reports of mine incidents in Algeria, but it is not possible to discern whether these reports reflect new use of AP mines or explosions of previously laid mines.[6] There are indications, however, of continued use of homemade mines (improvised explosive devices) and possibly conventional mines by the insurgent GIA (Groupe Islamiste Arme) forces. In early 2000 French television (Canal+) showed footage of use of improvised explosive devises by the GIA in the Mitidja plain (northern central area of the country). According to Mr. Rezag-Bar, President of the National Observatorium for Human Rights of Algeria, mine accidents are happening in the areas that have previously been in the hands of rebel groups. He said it is likely these are caused by improvised explosive devices serving as landmines.[7] On 18 June 2000, an Algerian soldier was killed when he stepped on an antipersonnel mine in the Zbarbar Mountains.[8]

Landmine Problem and Mine Action

Algeria has a landmine problem but no comprehensive assessment has ever been undertaken to quantify it. German and Italian troops laid mines in the Northern Coastal regions during WWII and French troops laid mines in the border regions of neighboring Tunisia and Morocco until 1962, mainly along the electrified “Challe et Morice” Line. The density of the French minefields is reported to be one landmine per meter.[9]

According to the Algerian government, there are approximately 1.3 million mines in place, including 913,000 in the eastern frontier and 4,200 in the western frontier.[10] According to one source, approximately twenty types of mines were laid during the liberation war (i.e. before 1962).[11]

There has been little new information regarding mine casualties, or mine action activities in Algeria in the past year. Algeria made a request for humanitarian demining assistance from the United States on 6 December 1999. The U.S. government is currently reviewing the request.[12]

The government claims to have undertaken mine clearance and awareness activities, but details are not publicly available. In addition to Army deminers who clear border areas, the National Security Police are also reported to have a team of Explosive Ordnance Disposal experts to deal with mines and improvised explosive devices in urban areas.[13]

Algerian officials, including the Minister of Solidarity, confirm mine accidents have occurred in the Mitidja region, around Algier (Blida), in the area of Mascara, Saςda, Relizane, and Kabilie, but no information regarding the number and location of mine incidents is available due to the lack of an adequate data-collection system. [14] One source estimates that there have been 3,600 victims in the region of Tebessa since 1962.[15]


[1] Mr. Lahcène Moussaoui, Delegate Minister for Cooperation and Maghreb Affairs, Ottawa, 4 December 1997.
[2] President Abdelaziz Bouteflika message to Handicap International, published in El Moudjehed newspaper, 7 October 1999.
[3] Interview with Mr. Rezag-Bara, President of the National Observatorium for Human Rights of Algeria, 3 July 2000.
[4] Statement of the Delegation of Algeria to the First Meeting of States Parties, Maputo, 4 May 1999.
[5] Information from Osservatorio Sul Commercio delle Arme, Italy.
[6] For example, two shepherds were killed and two wounded in a landmine explosion on 1 June 1999 near Sidi Bel Abbes, 440 kilometers southwest of Algiers in “Algeria’s Four-Year Reign of Violence Claims 5,000,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur (Algiers), 03 June 1999.
[7] Interview with Mr. Rezag-Bara, President of the National Observatorium for Human Rights of Algeria, (ONDH) 3 July 2000.
[8] "Four dead, 15 injured in Latest Algerian Islamist Rebel Attacks," EFE (Spain) via COMTEX, Algiers, 19 June 2000.
[9] See Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 872.
[10] Le réseau d’échanges multidisciplinaires pour l’environnement et le développement (Multidiciplinary Network for Environment and Development), Algeria, Regional conference on the dangers of landmines in the Arab countries, 11-12 February 1999.
[11] Interview with M. Ali Halimi, president of the National Association for the Protection of Environment and Fight against Pollution (APEP), Algiers, 3 July 2000.
[12] U.S. Department of State, Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs, Fact Sheet : Meeting of the Interagency Working Group on Demining, 9 December 1999.
[13] Interview with Dr. Djamel Ould Abbès, Minister of Solidarity, Algiers, 3 July 2000.
[14] Interview with Dr. Djamel Ould Abbès, Minister of Solidarity, Algiers, 3 July 2000; also interview with Pr. J.L. Grangaud, Director for Prevention and Sanitary Education, Ministry of Health, Algiers, 4 July 2000.
[15] Interview with M. Ali Halimi, APEP, Algiers, 3 July 2000.