Communal Guards (Algeria)

Country: Algeria
Details of Formation: The Communal Guards were established in 1995 by the government. Over the following months, further communal guards were created.
Details of Termination: The group was still active in 2014.
Purpose: The main purpose is to support security forces in their fight against Islamic fundamentalist terrorists (Wikipedia. "2009 in Algeria" /news sources). They are regularly active in combat missions against terrorists.
Organisation: --
Weapons and Training: The Communal Guards are armed by the government and were training with the gendarmerie. No mention of training after 1995. They are described as being heavily-armed.
Size: - The group has a size of around a maximum of 16,000 fighters, though it is not entirely clear if all of the mentioned fighters are active within the Communal Guards or other structures. Recruitment went on after the founding until at least 1996, so the initial size supposedly increased during this time period.
Reason for Membership: Members joined in order to fight for the government during the war against terrorism, and to take revenge against the Islamists. They also received financial benefits, though the role of the payments for membership is unclear.
Treatment of Civilians: One of the minor purposes of the Communal Guards is to protect civilians. However, they were accused of willful killings of unarmed civilians, and act indiscriminately against the families of terrorists. The government allegedly used the Communal Guards to punish its enemies, which included civilians.
Other Information: The Communal Guards sometimes appear in sources as a forerunner or subset of Groups for Legitimate Defense (GLD). It appears that the two groups are separate and that Communal Guards are a kind of local policemen, whereas GLD are an armed civilian militia.
References: Wikipedia. “2009 in Algeria”.

Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD