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Algerian War of Independence leader arrested for criticising army chief of staff

French soldiers during Algeria's war of independence which ended in 1962 [ScaleModelCart/Facebook]
French soldiers during Algeria's war of independence which ended in 1962 [ScaleModelCart/Facebook]

Lakhdar Bouregaa, a leader of the Algerian National Liberation Army, known for his struggle during the War of Independence against France in Algeria, has been arrested.

Bouregaa was arrested at his home in Hydra, Algeria, his grandson Imad Bouregaa told a local news website.

The 86-year-old Bouregaa, a supporter of the ongoing protests since the resignation of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika on 2 April, was taken to a “security barrack” in the nearby neighbourhood of Ben Aknoun, according to Imad Bouregaa.

Liberté newspaper reported that “Bouregaa was able to communicate with his sons to inform them about his arrest,” but he was not able to indicate “his whereabouts.”

Mohammed Bouregaa, the eldest son of Lakhdar Bouregaa, said on a telephone conversation with TSA Arabi that he does not know his father’s whereabouts.

Read: Algeria demonstrations continue amid arrests, high security

“I do not know where my father is now. I have heard about his arrest by the security services only from others, and I am not in contact with him,” Mohammed Bouregaa said.

The veteran’s arrest has sparked a wave of discontent in the country, especially through social media websites.

The Socialist Forces Front Party, Algeria’s oldest opposition party that Lakhdar Bouregaa was one of its founding fathers in 1963, has expressed its “anger” following the leader’s arrest.

Activists, journalists, and academicians considered in a petition published by human rights activist Fodil Boumala that “this arrest is a serious deviation.”

While the reasons for the veteran’s arrest are still unknown, Imad Bouregaa pointed out that his grandfather had been interrogated for “statements criticising General Gaid Saleh,” the country’s strongest man since Bouteflika’s resignation.

Lakhdar Bouregaa has recently accused Gaid Saleh of wanting to force his “candidate” forward in the upcoming presidential elections.

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