Armed Islamic groups killed more than 60 foreigners in Algeria in 1994 – many had their throats cut. Few outsiders entered the country. By 1994, the savage war was already traumatizing the nation and cost the lives of more than 20,000 Algerians.
It was a conflict that was mostly unreported, taking place away from the world’s media. Phil Rees was the first western journalist to film the armed Islamic groups that attempted to overthrow the government.
His film revealed the scale of the hidden war and received international acclaim.
The documentary was described as “exemplary journalism” by the Times (19.11.94) and “gripping” by Time Out (18.11.94) and received global coverage in international news media, including Le Monde, Le Nouvel Observateur, Time magazine, the Guardian, La Stampa, Asharq al-Awsat and so on.
When a French language version (L’autre Guerre d”Algerie) was broadcast on Canal +, it was reported that Algerians flocked to cafes that showed satellite television to watch the documentary. According to Malek Chebel in Le Monde: “Le recent documentaire de la BBC sur les maquis integristes de l’Algerois a sans doute battu tout les records d’audience…”
The film won a clutch of international awards, including from the Royal Television Society and the Monte Carlo Television Festival.