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Algeria: Chief of intelligence arrested immediately after dismissal

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune in Algiers, Algeria on 26 January 2020. [Erçin Top - Anadolu Agency]
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune in Algiers, Algeria on 26 January 2020 [Erçin Top/Anadolu Agency]

Algerian media reported that Brigadier General Wassini Bouazza was arrested and placed in custody pending his trial, immediately after he was dismissed from his position as head of intelligence by order of the President of the Republic Abdelmajid Tebboune.

The reports explained that Bouazza, who had been involved in several cases, was discharged to end internal conflicts within the decision-making circle, that lasted for over four months.

Al-Watan newspaper stated that Bouazza was transferred to the military prison immediately after his arrest by the security forces.

The newspaper also confirmed that Tebboune issued the decision to remove Bouazza and appoint Abdelghani Rashidi as his successor, which falls within the president's jurisdiction. The newspaper also stressed that the dismissed head of internal security used to be described by his opponents as the "armed arm" of the former army chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaid Salah.

The newspaper indicated that the appointment of Brigadier Rashidi, first as Bouazza's deputy and granting him broad powers at a swearing-in ceremony, which was overseen by Acting Chief of Staff Al-Saeed Shingriqa and highlighted by media in an unprecedented way, marked the beginning of Bouazza's influence. Thus, Bouazza, who was banned from attending the inauguration ceremony, received orders to keep a low profile until the issuance of further decisions.

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Al-Watan stated that Bouazza was not on good terms with Rashidi, which was manifested through the issuance of "decisions" and "counter decisions" at the time, in addition to the emergence of "resistance" and "parallel opposition" between both parties.

The newspaper conveyed that Bouazza had been involved in many cases on charges related to the way he handled several state security files, noting that the General Directorate of National Security had launched an investigation, a long time ago, regarding the way Bouazza managed a number of issues, as well as his influence on politics and the media in Algeria.

Al-Watan added that Bouazza's removal came as a logical outcome of the changes made by Tebboune at the level of sensitive positions within the army.

The newspaper reported that on Monday, Major General Shingriqa supervised the inauguration of General Rashidi, and announced to the present officers: "I command all of you to work under his authority, obey his orders and implement his instructions, in a way that serves the general interests of the country, within the framework of the applicable military rules and regulations and the laws of the republic, to honour the sacrifices of our righteous martyrs and to preserve the values ​​of our glorious revolution."

The newspaper equally considered that Shingriqa's words carried significance in relation to the current circumstances, and indicated the beginning of a new era.

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