Monday, 28 July 2014
Algeria: Rumours of an army purge
There is both mystery and a lack of information surrounding the reported “retirement” of senior army officers. More than a month ago, it was reported that a list of 74 senior officers had been drawn up by army chief of staff and deputy defence minister, General Ahmed Gaïd Salah, to be considered for retirement by the High Council of Military Function (HCFM). We then heard that the list may have contained several hundred names and that the “Bouteflika camp”, which includes Gaïd Salah, was already in the throes of “removing” senior army officers who were known or suspected of being opposed to Bouteflika’s fourth mandate. We have since been hearing that this “purge” is being disproportionately weighted against the DRS.
According to our sources, it is because this year’s normal 5 July process of army retirements has turned into this sort of purge, that there has been so little public information on what is happening. Although our sources are adamant that such a purge is taking place, we are finding it impossible to get a firm confirmation of how it is being conducted and who has been removed.
It is obviously a sensitive and politically dangerous process and one that can only be accomplished successfully if it is kept as secret as possible. We are hearing, but cannot confirm, that several hundred officers have been fired or are perhaps still in the firing line, with the DRS being most targeted.
For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.
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