ALGIERS (Reuters) - Clashes have broken out between Arabs and Berbers near the southern Algerian desert town of Ghardaia, with two people killed and businesses torched, the official APS news agency and local media reported on Tuesday.
The violence erupted on Monday in the town of Berriane. Youths from the two communities threw stones and petrol bombs and also set fire to several businesses, according to APS and Algerian media reports.
Two people were killed and several injured, including policemen, when rival gangs of youths clashed, APS said without referring to the two rival communities. The area had been tense since police arrested a group of young men last week for suspected involvement in previous clashes.
Ghadaia, around 600 km (370 miles) from Algiers, is home to both Arabs and the Mozabite Berber community, which speaks its own language and follows its own school of Islam. The area has often been a flashpoint for clashes as Arabs and Mozabites compete over jobs, houses and land.
Similar violence took place in the area last year, resulting in the death of at least five people.
National Police Chief Abdelghani Hamel visited the province on Monday in a bid to restore calm after hundreds of policemen staged a march in Ghardaia to protest against attacks on them by gangs of youths.
(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Patrick Markey and Angus MacSwan)