Algerian leader calls colonisation 'genocide'

COLONISATION was a form of "genocide" for Algeria's identity and traditions, the president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, said yesterday in his latest strong comments about France's historical role in North Africa.

French-Algerian relations have been tense since France passed a law last year requiring textbooks to show the "positive role" the country played in its former colonies. The law was an embarrassment for the government, and the French president, Jacques Chirac, said in January that it should be revamped.

"Colonisation brought the genocide of our identity, of our history, of our language, of our traditions," Mr Bouteflika said.