Algerians protest kidnapping with strike

Algiers – Residents of Tizi Ouzou, a city 110km east of the Algiers, staged a strike on Sunday to demand the release of an 18-year-old man kidnapped by an armed group on May 11.

The strike was widely observed, with almost all businesses staying closed in the main city of the northern Kabylie region, residents told AFP.

Mourad Bilek was kidnapped on May 11 and there have been 64 registered kidnappings in the region since 2005.

The most recent was on May 14, when a 71-year-old man was taken from his home in Mechtras.

The strike call was made following Bilek’s kidnapping by residents of his village.

Residents of nearby Beni Douala had already observed a general strike earlier this week to demand Bilek’s release.

The majority of people taken by armed groups in the area are eventually freed in exchange for ransom.

But in 2010 two hostages were released by their captors without payment following pressure from the local population.


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