Responsibility for maintaining law and order in Algeria is shared by the 60,000-member Gendarmerie Nationale, under the Ministry of National Defense, and the 30,000-member Sûreté Nationale, or national police force, under the Ministry of Interior. The Gendarmerie Nationale is mainly active in rural and remote areas of the country, while the Sûreté Nationale is primarily an urban police force. There are also 94,000 Municipal Guards. They have as primary duty protect the villages and act as an auxiliary force of the law enforcement.
During the Algerian Civil War, the Guards were the primary targets of the Islamic militants, with 4,000 Guards killed in action since 1994. Algeria’s various security forces have been involved in counterterrorism operations and have been accused of breaches of Human rights and excesses in the battle against Islamist groups. They also face complaints of harassing journalists.