Thirty arrested in Algeria on suspicion of igniting forest fires

The Algerian authorities announced on Wednesday the arrest of 30 people on suspicion of involvement in setting the forest fires in the country in mid-August, which left 90 people dead and destroyed tens of thousands of hectares of forests, according to the Algerian News Agency.

The agency quoted the National Gendarmerie, the security force of the Ministry of Defense, as saying that "the investigations related to forest fires led to the arrest of 30 suspects, who were brought before the competent judicial authorities and placed in temporary detention" under investigation.

He added that among those arrested were "seven elements of the terrorist movement "MAC"", the abbreviated name of the "Movement for the Self-Determination of the Kabylie Region", which the authorities classified in May as a "terrorist organization".

The authorities had previously accused Mac of involvement in the forest fires, but the Paris-based movement rejected these accusations.
The investigations, which are still ongoing, included “387 fire spots across 14 states of the country,” according to the National Gendarmerie.

The massive fires broke out on August 9 and affected 26 out of the country's 58 states, killing at least 90 people, including 33 soldiers, according to various reports by local authorities and the Ministry of Defense.

According to Agriculture Minister Abdelhamid Hamdani, the forest fires “caused damage to more than 89 thousand hectares (…) Tizi Ouzou was the most affected state, along with the states of Bejaia, Khenchela, Skikda and Guelma,” all in the northeast of the country.

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