The Trappist monks belonged to Our Lady of the Atlas monastery in Tibhirine. They were killed by an armed commando of some 20 men.
The March 1996 kidnapping of the monks was reported in a statement a month later by Djamel Zitouni, leader of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), who proposed an exchange of prisoners with France. A second GIA statement, in May, announced the monks’ deaths.
Since then, other accounts have cast doubt on that version of the events. Former military personnel and intelligence agents have contended that the Algerian government’s secret services participated indirectly in the crime.