Algeria blasts retired French general on monk killings

20th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Algeria criticised the testimony of a former French general in the case of seven French monks killed in African more than a decade ago.

Algiers – Algeria on Sunday criticised the testimony of a former French general in the case of seven French monks killed in the North African state more than a decade ago.

Algerian Interior Minister Yazid Zerhouni said statements made by Francois Buchwalter, who was France's military attache in Algeria when the killings happened in 1996, were not his true thoughts.

He suggested the retired army officer had been prompted to claim that the Algerian army killed the monks in a botched raid.

Zerhouni told Algerian news agency APS the case reminded him "of a type of Japanese theatre, which consists of making puppets dance and, at the back of the room, there is someone who prompts them and tells them what to say.

"The whole scene plays out of course in Paris and not here in in Algeria," he told reporters during a visit to Algiers.

Buchwalter recently told an inquiry into the deaths that the Algerian army massacred the monks by mistake when helicopters raided a militant camp near their hilltop monastery.

This contradicts the official Algerian and French version that the Trappist monks were killed by Algerian militant group the GIA.

Critics have long been suspicious of the official Algerian and French version of events that the monks at the Tibhirine monastery were killed by the GIA during a decade of violence that left more than 150,000 people dead.

AFP / Expatica

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