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About 20 injured in ethnic clashes in Algeria

ALGIERS, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Around 20 people were injured and 18 houses were set on fire with 15 people arrested in a new wave of sectarian violence that hit the province of Ghardaia, 600 km south east of Algiers, over the weekend.

After nearly two calm months, the clashes between the Chaamba community which is of Arab origin, and Mozabite Berbers of the Muslim Ibadi sect, erupted again, whilst elders warned that the region cannot withstand additional violence. They also urged the government to intervene.

Aouatti Salim, a member of elder committee of El Hofra neighborhood in Ghardaia, told Xinhua that 10 houses were vandalized and set ablaze Friday night. Violence were also seen in other neighborhoods of Ghardaia on Saturday and Sunday.

Aouatti urged the "government to intervene as soon as possible to contain the violence and save the region from chaos."

Eyewitnesses said one hundred masked men invaded the neighborhoods and set fire to 18 houses and 14 vehicles, while anti riot troops found it hard to intervene and deal with the situation, due to the narrow streets and alleys of the neighborhoods. Even fire fighters could not contain fires in some far away houses.

About 20 people were injured during the clashes, while anti riot troops arrested 15 rioters, five of whom not from Ghardaia.

Since December 2013 the province of Ghardaia has been hit by a series of violent ethnic clashes between the Chaamba community and the Mozabite Berbers. So far, 15 were killed in these clashes.

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