ALGIERS, ALGERIA – Algeria has arrested 27 suspected members of a separatist group the government has declared a terrorist organization after an attack in two northern towns, police said on Monday.
They said the 27 were suspected of belonging to MAK, a group that claims independence for the Berber-speaking region of Kabylia.
Morocco’s support for MAK was one of the reasons cited by Algeria for severing diplomatic relations with the kingdom at the end of last month.
Police said the 27 people were arrested “for their attempt to sow terror and discord among citizens at the behest of parties abroad,” police said in a statement. “They resorted to assault and theft of citizens’ stores.”
The statement said the attacks and arrests had taken place in the northern towns of Kherrata and Beni Ourtilane over the past 48 hours, but gave no further details.
He said several members of the security forces were injured when they intervened to protect citizens and their property during the incident.
Police found military uniform accessories, bladed weapons, false seals and cell phones after searching the homes of those arrested, he added.
The government has blamed MAK, which Algiers declared a terrorist organization last year, for the devastating forest fires that killed at least 65 people in the Kabylie region, east of Algiers, last month. The MAK, whose management is based in France, has denied any involvement.