While the Algerian Defense Ministry announced the army having killed 32 armed radicals and arrested 132 others, local human rights organization revealed that authorities have been actively exercising inhumane deportation. Some 50 refugees from Syria and Palestine were sent to Niger, after being held in custody for three months.
The Ministry of Defense published the results of military operations in 2018 that saw the arrest and killing of a number of terrorists mostly found south of the country near borders with Mali and Niger.
At least 170 people have been arrested on suspicion of supporting terrorists. According to counterterrorism findings, the army discovered and destroyed 499 hideouts that housed extremists and eight workshops used to prepare explosives. The year 2018 also saw the seizure of some 707 pieces of weapons, including 231 Kalashnikovs, 388 rifles, 25 automatic pistols, 48 machine guns, and 15 rocket launchers.
The Algerian army also raided 399 ammunition depots and seized some 94,764 rounds of various calibre bullets, 42 grenades, 143 explosive charges, 160 bombers, 45 explosives capsules, and 498 projectiles.
Last year, according to Defense Ministry figures, the army also destroyed 512 conventional bombs, 61 mines, and some 32 detonators.As for the 60 deported refugees, several Syrian activists and human rights groups condemned Algeria's move. Earlier this year, international NGOs accused Algeria of abandoning migrants in the Sahara desert. In June, it was reported that Algeria had abandoned 13,000 migrants in the previous 14 months, including women and children, without food and water.
Algeria's La Ligue Algérienne pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme (LADDH), a local human rights monitor, released a statement confirming the news that Algerian authorities deported 50 Palestinian and Syrian refugees, on December 25 and 26. According to LADDH's statement, all refugees boarded a bus to Niger while being assisted by the Algerian Red Crescent.
The human rights watchdog added that children and women, one of whom was pregnant, were among the asylum seekers deported. It further condemned the forced deportation, which targeted asylum seekers who have come to Algeria in search of protection and safety.