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Algeria army arrests militants heading for Sahel region: ministry


ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria's army has arrested eight people planning to join Islamist militants in the neighboring Sahel region, the defense ministry said on Wednesday.

The eight were arrested on Tuesday in the Ghardaia and Relizane provinces, a ministry statement said without providing details.

Algeria has repeatedly expressed concerns about security across its southern borders with Mali and Niger, where Islamist militants have carried out deadly attacks on civilians and government forces.

The army has tightened security across the country's frontiers with the Sahel region and with Libya, and announced seizures of weapons during patrols this year.

Algeria emerged from decade-long Islamist linked violence in the 1990s when an estimated 200,000 people were killed following the cancellation of a legislative election an Islamist party was poised to win.

(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed, Editing by William Maclean)

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