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Algerian forces flood desert city to calm violence

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January 22, 2014 05:33 AM EST | AP


ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algeria has arrested seven people and sent thousands of police to calm weeks of ethnic clashes in a southern desert city.

Ghardaia, a picturesque city 370 miles (600 kilometers) south of Algiers, perched on the edge of the Sahara desert, is divided between Sunni Muslim Arabs and the Berbers, the original inhabitants of North Africa, from the rare Ibadi sect of Islam.

For the past month there have been intermittent clashes between young men from the two groups and over the weekend a Berber man was stabbed to death. At least 30 shops were also set on fire, the state news agency said.

Some 3,000 policemen were sent Monday to stabilize the situation and the next day the state news agency announced seven men had been arrested.