Five civilians killed in Algeria bomb blast: ministry

Five people were killed when a homemade bomb exploded in Tebessa, while three others were injured. (File/AFP)
Five people were killed when a homemade bomb exploded in Tebessa, while three others were injured. (File/AFP)
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Updated 14 January 2021

Five civilians killed in Algeria bomb blast: ministry

Five civilians killed in Algeria bomb blast: ministry
  • The roadside bomb went off as a car drove by in the region of Tebessa
  • A militant was killed by troops in the neighboring region of Khenchela

ALGIERS: A homemade bomb killed five civilians and wounded three others in eastern Algeria on Thursday, the defense ministry said, the deadliest attack targeting civilians in recent years.
The roadside bomb went off as a car drove by in the region of Tebessa, the ministry said in a statement.
“Five citizens died and three others were wounded when a homemade bomb exploded as their car drove in Oueid Khenig-Roum, near the district of Telidjane in Tebessa prefecture,” it said.
It gave no other details on the attack itself.
The same statement did note that a militant was killed by troops in the neighboring region of Khenchela, but it was not immediately clear if the two incidents were related.
“Following an ambush in Oued Boudekhane... in Khenchela prefecture, a detachment of the People’s National Armed Forces shot dead... a dangerous terrorist,” the statement said.
A machine gun, ammunition, and cell phones as well as a radio transmitter were recovered during the operation, the defense ministry said, adding that the operation was still ongoing.
Algerian authorities use the term “terrorist” to describe armed extremists who have been active in the country since the early 1990s.
Between 1992 and 2002, a civil war pitting the army against multiple extremist and militant groups left an estimated 200,000 people dead.
A 2005 Charter for Peace and Reconciliation was supposed to have turned the page on the conflict, but militant groups continue to carry out sporadic operations.
Earlier this month, the ministry said six militants and three Algerian soldiers were killed over two days in separate clashes in the west of the country.
And in December, a clash in the Jijel region east of Algiers killed an army staff sergeant and three suspected militants. The army later announced it had captured a “dangerous terrorist.”
Official media also said late last year that the army had foiled a planned redeployment by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), following the death of their leader.
AQIM’s leader Abdelmalek Droukdel was killed in June by French forces in northern Mali, but was replaced in November by Abu Obaida Yusuf Al-Annabi, a well-known AQIM veteran and Algerian national.
Over the course of last year, 21 extremist militants were killed, nine were captured and seven surrendered during Algerian army operations, the military said in a tally published earlier this month.


Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate
Bookseller Yaqoub Mohamed Yaqoub, 45, sits by his roadside stall where he has been working for 15 years, in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, on January 14, 2021. (AFP)
Updated 16 January 2021

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate
  • Unrest ricocheted beyond North African country, triggering uprisings, crackdowns, civil wars

KHARTOUM: As Sudan’s transitional government shifts the nation from the Islamist rule of ousted strongman Omar Bashir, a new schoolbook has sparked controversy for reproducing Michelangelo’s iconic “Creation of Adam.”
Khartoum’s government has embarked on deeply controversial reforms in a bid to boost its international standing and rescue its ailing economy — but bringing it into a confrontation with those who see changes as anti-Islamic.
The offending picture, in a history textbook for teenagers, has become a flashpoint in the argument. “It is an ugly offense,” said Sudan’s Academy of Islamic Fiqh, the body ruling on Islamic law, which issued an edict banning teaching from the book.
Michelangelo’s fresco, depicting the Biblical story of God reaching out with his hand to give life to Adam, is a flagship piece of 16th century Renaissance art that forms part of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling in Rome.
“The book glorifies Western culture in a way that makes it the culture of science and civilization — in contrast to its presentation of Islamic civilization,” the Fiqh academy added.

BACKGROUND

In a viral video, a preacher broke down as he waved the book during Friday prayers, accusing it of promoting ‘apostasy’ and ‘heresy.’

Furious Muslim clerics have railed against the book and other changes to the school curriculum.
In one video widely shared on social media, a preacher broke down as he waved the book during Friday prayers, accusing it of promoting “apostasy” and “heresy.”
Another urged followers to “burn the book.”
But others defended the changes, saying they were part of necessary education reforms.
“The picture is not in a religious book,” teacher Qamarya Omar said.
“It is in a history book for the sixth-grade under a section called European Renaissance, which makes it placed in context.”