Military keeps its grip on Algeria

GENERAL Labbi Belkhair was the man who claimed that President Mohamed Boudiaf's assassin acted alone and on his own initiative. No one in Algeria was thus surprised yesterday to find that the new Prime Minister, Belaid Abdesselam, had fired the general as interior minister for what is now referred to as a 'lapse' in security.

Some lapse. It was, after all, General Belkhair who first confirmed that the man charged with the killing of Boudiaf was Lembarek Boumaref, an official bodyguard of the prime minister; that is to say, he worked for the state security service controlled by General Belkhair himself.

The new interior minister is Mohamed Hardi, a former secretary-general in the Information Ministry who - and this comes as a surprise to no one - is said to have close links to the Algerian security services.

The military authorities therefore maintain their supremacy over the Algerian government while still, officially, waiting for a report on the circumstances of Boudiaf's death at Annaba on 29 June. The new cabinet otherwise remains largely the same as that run by Mr Abdesselam's predececessor, Sid Ahmed Ghozali.

General Khaled Nezzar, the most powerful figure in the army, is still Minister of Defence, while Lakhdar Ibrahimi, perhaps the most intellectual and certainly the best-known personality in the cabinet, stays on as Foreign Minister.

Their mission, in theory at least, is that of Mohamed Boudiaf - whose own successor as President, Ali Khafi, is as silent in office as Boudiaf was loquacious: the crushing of political violence, the revival of the Algerian economy and the suppression of corruption.

But the shadow of Boudiaf's assassination - and the growing mystery over who planned his murder - has cast a dark reflection over the authorities here and their capacity to control events.

Certainly, there has been little decrease in the guerrilla war between the government and the Islamic groups which have taken up arms against it. Twelve electricity transmission lines have been cut in the past 24 hours and 2,000 telephone lines sabotaged at Blida, the town in which the two Islamic Salvation Front leaders were sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment last week. On Saturday night gunmen attacked the Constantine radio and television station for half an hour. Rifle fire could again be heard in Algiers early yesterday morning.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Support Specialist - Document Management

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A leading provider of document ...

Recruitment Genius: Legal Secretary

£17000 - £17800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to work ...

Recruitment Genius: Ad Ops Manager - Up to £55K + great benefits

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a digital speci...

The Green Recruitment Company: Operations Manager - Anaerobic Digestion / Biogas

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Operation...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent