Troops alert for Boudiaf funeral

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The Independent Online
ALGIERS (Agencies) - Armed troops were yesterday guarding a cemetery on the eve of the funeral of President Mohamed Boudiaf, who was assassinated on Monday, as the country's leadership appealed to shocked Algerians to stay calm.

Boudiaf, 73, was gunned down at a cultural centre in Annaba, 375 miles east of Algiers. The Higher State Council, Algeria's collective leadership, said that his killer had been captured.

Journalists and other witnesses reported for the first time yesterday that two gunmen were involved. Authorities on Monday blamed the killing on a lone gunman wearing riot-police uniform, who was killed by police, but officials said later that a second man who opened fire was under arrest.

Forty-one people, including Abdennour Kerramane, the Interior Minister, Abdennour Kerramane, were wounded in the attack. Islamic fundamentalists remain the popular suspects for the shooting. The surviving four members of the Higher State Council met throughout yesterday to pick a successor to Boudiaf, but no decision is expected for several days.

Boudiaf's body was brought to the capital after the assassination. Yesterday, soldiers believed to be from the presidential guard watched over workers preparing El Alia (Martyrs) Cemetery, where today he is expected to be interred near the tomb of former president Houari Boumedienne.

Military vehicles from the paramilitary gendarmerie occasionally patrolled the streets in Algiers, but security was generally relaxed compared with the scene on Monday night when armoured cars mounted with machine-guns criss- crossed the city. No details of Boudiaf's funeral have been released for security reasons.