Algeria arrests thirty people over involvement in wildfires

Men work to douse hotspots in an area hit by a wildfire in El Bir village, Bejaia province, Algeria.

Algeria has detained 30 people, including seven members of a separatist group that the government has declared a terrorist organisation, for involvement in wildfires that killed at least 65 people, the paramilitary police said on Wednesday.

They have been placed in custody after appearing before a court following investigations over the wildfires that erupted last month in several provinces, mainly in the Kabylie region, east of Algiers, the paramilitary police, or National Gendarmerie, said in a statement.

Authorities have blamed the MAK group, which seeks independence for the Berber-speaking Kabylie region, for the devastating forest fires, and accused Morocco of backing it.

Morocco’s support for the group was one of the reasons cited by Algeria to cut diplomatic relations with the Kingdom late last month.

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