ALGIERS, Algeria, Jan. 3 -- Villagers in the western section of Algeria appear to be starting a mass exodus from their homes, following renewed Islamic militant attacks. Radio France Internationale reported today hundreds of villagers from the region of recent Islamic fundamentalist attacks are fleeing with all their possession.
Algerian newspapers earlier today reported renewed Islamic fundamentalist attacks this week, leaving more than 180 people dead. Today, the Radio France Internationale correspondent said 'villagers from areas not yet attacked were departing from their homes.' The villagers appeared to be headed to more populous communities such as Relizane, El Asnam or Oran. Meanwhile, France is pressuring Algeria to better protect its citizens. Algeria's French-language newspapers, Liberte and La Tribune, say the most recent killings occurred in three separate attacks on villages west of the capital Algiers. More deaths were reported in the south of the country. Last Tuesday, the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, widespread massacres at four separate sites left 412 people dead. The slaughter in four villages near Relizane in western Algeria was one of the bloodiest in the country's six-year civil war, in which Islamic militants are trying to topple the secular military government. The French Foreign Ministry says it supports German calls for a European Union emergency meeting to discuss the civil strife in its former colony. ---
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