Last updated: 5 March, 2014

Algerian shot dead at checkpoint after car failed to stop

The army shot dead a civilian and wounded two others when their car failed to stop at a checkpoint in the Kabylie region of eastern Algeria early Wednesday, security sources said.

Soldiers opened fire after mistaking the car’s four passengers, who were not from the area, for armed Islamists, who are active in the area.

One passenger was killed, two wounded and the fourth arrested, the sources said, without explaining why the car failed to stop.

The incident took place before dawn near an army barracks in Mechtras, in the Kabylie region where Islamists are active.

Two people, including a woman, were killed in the same region in 2011 in what were also described as cases of mistaken identity by the military.

Kabylie, with its mountains and forests, was a heartland of the Islamist insurrection during Algeria’s devastating civil war of the 1990s.

Violence blamed on Islamists has declined considerably in recent years.

But groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb continue to attack strategic targets in Kabylie, around the capital and in the south.