The self-immolation by a graduate vegetable seller that triggered the Tunisian uprising and brought down the government of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is leading the desperately poor in neighbouring countries to follow suit. On Monday, Abdou Abdel Moneim Gaafar, the 49 year old owner of a restaurant set himself ablaze on the pavement in front of the Parliament building in Cairo, the Egyptian daily Al Masri Al Youm reported on its website. He raised slogans saying his country's establishment had denied him his rights. The daily said he had been taken to hospital where the status of his condition is unknown.

But on Sunday, a youth in Algeria who had torched himself a day earlier succumbed to his burns. Mohcin Bouterfif (37), part of a group of 20, had set himself alight in front of a town hall after the Mayor refused to meet them over jobs and conditions of housing, AFP reported.

Since last Wednesday, this was the fourth self-immolation attempt by Algerians. On Sunday, police managed to put out the flames after a 34-year old unemployed man had torched himself in front of the domestic intelligence agency headquarters at a location 355 km east of capital Algiers. Earlier on Friday, a 27-year old man set himself aflame in front of a police station outside Algiers, the daily El Watan said. The daily also reported that on Wednesday, a man in his forties, and father of six, set himself on fire on being denied registration to receive housing benefits.

A town official intervened to scotch the flames, the daily added.

A wave of attempted suicides had also hit Tunisia after December 17, when the 26-year-old university graduate, Mohamed Bouzaiz, set himself on fire, stirring an uprising which culminated on Friday with the hasty flight of Mr. Ben Ali to Saudi Arabia.

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