Algeria banned, on Sunday, all private planes from taking off or landing at the country’s airports until the end of April, following reports about the escape of state officials and people in business for fear of being arrested in the aftermath of the regime’s fall and the arrest of businessman Ali Haddad.
According to Radio Monte Carlo (RMC), the Algerian security forces arrested Haddad, a close friend of President Bouteflika’s family, when he was leaving to Tunisia across the land border, according to a security source who confirmed the news circulated by local media.
According to Algerian media, the decision to ban private flights is aimed at preventing some prominent political figures from leaving the country.
National aviation authority stated that the decision of banning “all Algerian private planes registered in Algeria or abroad from taking off or landing” will remain in force until 30 April.
The Algerian authorities did not release any news about the arrest of Haddad, who was one of the biggest supporters of Bouteflika’s rule and appeared during all official ceremonies accompanied by Said Bouteflika, the president’s brother.
Bouteflika faced an unprecedented wave of protests for weeks, forcing him to cancel his candidacy for a fifth term. However, he postponed the presidential elections, scheduled for 18 April, under the pretext of establishing several reforms.
However, the movement of protests and peaceful demonstrations continued, as the Algerians rejected what they considered as a de facto renewal of Bouteflika’s fourth mandate, which is supposed to end on 28 April.