Algeria's Bouteflika lifts travel ban for FIS figures

Many members of the now-dissolved FIS, which continued to oppose Bouteflika's government, boycotted the April elections in which he secured a fourth term in office.

Algeria's Bouteflika lifts travel ban for FIS figures

World Bulletin / News Desk

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has lifted travel ban orders issued against members of the outlawed Islamic Salvation Front (FIS).

"President Bouteflika decided last week to lift a travel ban for some people…in pursuit of national reconciliation," Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said as he presented his new cabinet's program before parliament on Sunday.

Though Sellal declined to name these figures, it is widely known that the move would affect members of the FIS, which was dissolved by court order in 1992.

The FIS had won a majority of the seats contested in local elections in 1990 and most of the seats in the National Assembly in the first round of balloting in 1991.

The government, however, canceled the second round and arrested many of the group's leaders on violence-related charges.

The move prompted a far-reaching conflict between the government and various Islamist groups in Algeria which has claimed tens of thousands of lives between 1991 and 2002.

Bouteflika, 77, oversaw the end of the conflict during his tenure which began in 1999.

Many members of the now-dissolved FIS, which continued to oppose Bouteflika's government, boycotted the April elections in which he secured a fourth term in office.

"The government will continue to seek national reconciliation with an open invitation to the misled [militants] without compromising its fight against terrorism," Sellal said on Sunday.

In 2006, Bouteflika began implementing a national reconciliation document, approved by a referendum a year earlier, which included a pardon on thousands of militants holed up in mountainous regions on condition that they renounce violence.

Over 15,000 militants responded to Bouteflika's call over the years, according to official estimates. However, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb group continues to refuse the pardon.

Last Mod: 02 Haziran 2014, 10:00
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