30 June 2019

Algeria Arrests Prominent Independence War Veteran

Photo: Unknown and Vikoula5/Wikimedia Commons
Former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Algerian authorities have detained an iconic veteran of the country's war of independence with France, accusing him of insulting the army. Lakhdar Bouregaa's arrest caused an outcry, prompting demands for his release.

A popular veteran of Algeria's war of independence was arrested on Sunday, over statements that he made allegedly criticizing the military.

The arrest of 86-year-old Lakhdar Bouregaa caused an outcry across the country, with those who fought in the 1954 to 1962 war against colonial power France widely viewed as heroes.

The former commander in the National Liberation Army was arrested on Sunday for criticizing military chief Ahmed Gaid Salah. Bouregaa, who founded the Front for Socialist Forces (FFS) in 1963, was said to have been taken from his home in an upmarket Algiers neighborhood to an intelligence services base.

The FFS is one of Algeria's oldest opposition parties.

Boureggaa's grandson said the arrest was linked to comments made on Saturday, for the DzVid news website, about Saleh. The war veteran said Salah was seeking to impose his own candidate in the country's general election.

According to national television, Bouregaa was detained for "insulting a state body and undermining the morale of the army."

Army chief Saleh has grown in prominence after months of protests forced President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down in April amid pressure from the military. The country is due to vote for a new president although a June 4 election date was called off after the only two candidates were rejected by Algeria's Constitutional Council.

(dpa, AFP)

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