Category Archives: Algeria

After Paris check-up, Algeria’s Bouteflika signs April vote decree

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika whose health is a major concern in the West.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika signed a decree on Friday authorizing a formal start to campaigning for the April 17 presidential election in the major oil- and gas-producing OPEC country. Reported by the official news agency APS, the decree was Bouteflika’s first public act after he returned from a hospital visit in Paris on Thursday for what state media called health check-ups following a stroke at the start of last year. No television footage or pictures were immediately released of the 76-year-old leader, whose brief hospitalisation once again fuelled speculation about whether he himself will be able to run for re-election in April. Bouteflika is an important Western ally against militant … Continue reading

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New leader named for Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

Algerian Djamel Okacha has been named as a new commander in al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), replacing Abdelhamid Abou Zeid who was killed in fighting in northern Mali, Algerian Ennahar TV said on Sunday. An Algerian security source said Okacha, 34, was very close to AQIM’s leader Abdelmalek Droukdel as both belonged to the Group of Algiers, made up of militants born in the region around the Algerian capital. The source also said that he was confident that al Qaeda commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar, whose death was reported shortly after that of Abou Zeid, was dead. “Okacha is Droukdel’s right-hand man,” he said. Okacha’s priority would be to reorganize … Continue reading

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Pressure builds on Algeria over Mali military intervention

France and the United States are stepping pressure on Algeria to back a military intervention in Mali, where Islamist fighters have taken control off the northern region.”An intervention in northern Mali is possible without the military backing of Algeria but not without its green light,” Pierre Boilley, the head of the Centre of African Studies, a French think-tank, said on Sunday. Algeria is the region’s biggest military power by some margin and has been dealing with northern Mali’s top Islamist leaders – most of them are Algerian – for years. US officials on Sunday also called on greater regional involvement. “We encourage greater cooperation with the regional states in dealing … Continue reading

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