It has been over fifteen years since the end of Algeria’s Civil War, which took place from 1991 to 2002. Despite this significant gap between the past and the present, the memory of the violence and bloodshed remains in the minds of Algerians who are determined not to let the country fall back into conflict.
The recently-released film documentary “Not To Forget” has also reified this sentiment. Looking back on the history of the war, the documentary broadcasts gruesome images of dead bodies and the aftermath of massacres – real scenes from the war – for the first time on Algerian television.
The film has reignited old wounds and raised important questions for Algerians about a conflict that took the lives of tens if not hundreds of thousands of people.
In light of this past, the Algerian authorities have taken extra measures to clamp down on extremist groups, such as the ISIS-affiliate Jund al-Khilafah, which has carried out numerous attacks on security facilities over the last year and attempted to create instability in the country.
However, the authorities’ eyes are not only fixed on the so-called Islamic State, but other groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Murabitoun, and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), which is based in neighbouring Mali.
It is these groups which operate transnationally across north and west Africa that are also causing concern for the Algerian Government. On the country’s eastern border, Libya remains a destabilising influence, while in Tunisia, the fear of returning foreign fighters continues to plague the region.
On Algeria’s western border, the concerns are more political. Last weekend, the country’s top diplomat and foreign minister, Abdelkader Messahel, sparked outrage when he claimed that Moroccan banks are “laundering cannabis money via its banks in the continent”. The two countries have also clashed in the past about taking in Syrian refugees.
Yet, despite political clashes and regional instability, the country’s people are determined to stop the rise of any extremist groups and prevent a relapse into the past.