Angry Mob Lynched a Man Accused of Starting a Wildfire in Algeria

Dozens of people were caught on video pulling the man out of a police vehicle and beating him. They later set him on fire.
​Screenshots of video showing a crowd of people pulling Djamel Ben Ismail​ out of a police vehicle in Algeria and beating him.
Screenshots of video showing a crowd of people pulling Djamel Ben Ismail out of a police vehicle in Algeria and beating him. 

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A mob in Algeria was caught on video pulling a man accused of starting a wildfire out of a police van and beating him. They later burned him to death. 

Djamel Ben Ismail, 38, allegedly started a fire in the Tizi Ouzou district town of Larbaa Nath Irathen. A nonstop barrage of wildfires in the area this year, has caused widespread dismay as livestock and other means of livelihood have burned. Local police had arrested Ismail and were holding him for his own protection when the mob of dozens of people broke into the police van and dragged him out to the street. That’s when they assaulted him. 


Now, a prosecutor has ordered an investigation into the killing “so that the odious crime does not go unpunished,” according to a statement, the Associated Press reported.  

Videos of the attack show a group, seemingly all men, climbing into the police vehicle and shaking it back and forth before dragging Ismail out. At one point, a member of the crowd runs up and starts kicking Ismail on the ground. Police were also injured trying to protect Ismail. 

“Do you realize, even dead they tortured him?” Mohamed Khalfi, Ben Ismail’s uncle, told the Associated Press. “And what hurts me is that the people filmed. 

“I am his uncle and I ask that justice do its job and that even those who watched without doing anything be judged.”

Before the killing occurred, Ismail tweeted that he was going to volunteer to help fight the fires and “give a hand,” according to the Associated Press. Now people are questioning the accusations against him. Crowd-sourced donation pages have sprung up as well to help Ismail’s family. 

Amnesty International condemned the killing and encouraged an investigation begin immediately to “send a clear message that this violence won’t go unpunished,” according to a statement, the Associated Press Reported

Wildfires have scorched Algeria this season, leaving 69 people dead so far—41 civilians and 28 soldiers fighting the flames, according to Al Jazeera. In fact, the damage is so devastating, the country observed three national days of mourning earlier this week. The country is low on firefighting resources, and civilians are teaming up with soldiers to fight flames. Recently, officers enlisted two water planes from the EU to help extinguish the fires. 

While North Africa burns, so does Greece. More than 100 wildfires are raging across the Mediterranean country, and thousands have fled their homes. The United States’ West continues to burn as well. The Dixie fire—California’s largest single fire of all time—has already burned more than half a million acres. Combined, fires in the United States have already burned nearly 580,000 acres and have caused detrimental air quality hazards across the country due to smoke. Many fires in the United States are sparked by campfires, fireworks, and even gender reveal parties.

As the world burns, scientists have pointed to one main culprit: the climate crisis. A report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) called the state of the Earth’s climate “Code Red” and that humans are the “unequivocal” cause