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Seventh Algerian sets herself on fire

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ALGIERS — Two people in Algeria set themselves on fire on Wednesday, bringing the country’s total number of attempted public suicides to seven in a week, in replica of a protest that sparked a popular revolution in neighboring Tunisia.

A woman in her fifties soaked herself with a flammable product and tried to set herself on fire when a local official convinced her to stop, the El Watan daily said, adding that she wounded only her hand as a result.

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She was protesting in front of the townhall in Sidi Ali Benyoub, southwest of Algiers, after being denied housing aid, the newspaper added.

A 35-year old man was also in critical condition after setting himself alight near the townhall of Dellys, outside of Algiers, the report said.

“He was admitted (Tuesday) night in critical condition. Ninety-five percent of his body is covered with third-degree burns,” a hospital official told AFP.

Local officials told AFP that the man was mentally ill and that it was an isolated case unrelated to the recent spate of suicide attempts in Algeria.

However, he brought to seven the number of self-immolation acts in the country where mounting public grievances over unemployment and rising costs sparked protests earlier this month which left five people dead and over 800 injured.

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An unemployed father-of-six demanding a job and housing was also hospitalised Tuesday after torching himself. Four other Algerians have set themselves alight since January 12.

They were all following the example set by 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi who died after setting himself ablaze at a protest in Tunisia in mid-December. His death sparked an uprising and led Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country after 23 years in power.

Similar protests have been recorded in other parts of the Arab world, including in Egypt where one person died of his injuries on Tuesday.

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