ALGIERS, 22 May 2021 – Authorities in Algeria have designated the Kabylie separatist group (MAK) and religious movement Rachad as terrorist organizations.

The country’s High-Security Council accused the two groups of posing “hostile and subversive acts… [to] destabilize the country and damage its security”.

Algeria Tags Two Groups as Terrorist - Aawsat English

Algeria Tags Two Groups as Terrorist – Aawsat English

The presidency announced the decision Wednesday in the capital, Algiers.

A court in Algiers issued international arrest warrants last month for Rachad co-founder Mohamed Larbi Zitout, 57.

The former Algerian diplomat lives in Britain.

Three activists accused of joining the organization were also slapped with arrest warrants.

Algeria’s former colonial power, France, appears to be coordinating closely with Algerian officials to “criminalize” members of the group.

Berber Kabyle Region in Algeria - Source Joshua Project

Berber Kabyle Region in Algeria – Source Joshua Project

On Tuesday, French police arrested MAK chief in exile Ferhat Mhenni in Paris on charges of money laundering before releasing him shortly after.

The Algerian government accuses the group of reportedly infiltrating and inciting violence within the ranks of the Hirak anti-government protest movement.

Last April, Algerian authorities claimed that the Paris-based Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylie of planning attacks in Algeria.

The group denies the charge but insists that the people of Kabylie have a right to self-determination.

Algiers Designates Two Foreign-Based Groups as Terrorist - Photo News18

Algiers Designates Two Foreign-Based Groups as Terrorist – Photo News18

On Thursday, the group said the government had “seriously deviated”, accusing the Kabylie independence movement “without any evidence, of planning terrorist attacks”.

Algiers has previously accused the group of being racist against Arabs, a charge its leaders say has no merit.

The pro-independence movement was formed in 2001 in the wake of the so-called “Amazigh Spring”.

When the United Nations Security Council and member states of the United Nations designate groups as terrorist, the goal is usually to justify military action against them but also to curtail support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups and individuals that fund them to get out of the business of terrorism.

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