Algeria arrests prominent war veteran

Algeria war veteran Lakhdar Bouregaa is pictured in Algiers. (AFP)
Updated 30 June 2019
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Algeria arrests prominent war veteran

  • The arrest of Lakhdar Bouregaa, who is in his 80s, has ‘shocked’ many of those who took part in the 1954-1962 war of independence against French colonial rule

ALGIERS: Algerian authorities have arrested a well-known veteran of the war of independence against France, his grandson and media outlets said Sunday, after he reportedly criticised military chief Ahmed Gaid Saleh.
Lakhdar Bouregaa, 86, was arrested at his home in the upscale Hydra neighbourhood overlooking Algiers on Saturday and taken to a intelligence services base, grandson Imad Bouregaa said.
He told the DzVid news website that his grandfather's arrest was linked to comments he made about Gaid Salah, Algeria's strongman since the ouster in April of veteran president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
"My grandfather said that Gaid Salah wanted to impose his own candidate in presidential elections" to replace Bouteflika, he said.
National television reported that he had been detained for "insulting a state body and undermining the morale of the army", charges for which he could face up to 10 years in prison.
Bouteflika resigned after weeks of protests against his rule, only hours after close ally Gaid Salah demanded impeachment proceedings against him.
Gaid Salah has since been pushing for polls to choose a successor but a planned election on July 4 was scrapped after the only two candidates were rejected.
Bouregaa's arrest was also reported by several media outlets in Algeria, including French-language daily Liberte, and sparked criticism on social media.
His arrest has "shocked" many of those who took part in the 1954-1962 war of independence against French colonial rule, human rights activist Fodil Boumala said in a statement posted on Facebook.
It was a "serious blunder", said the statement signed by dozens of university professors.
Bouregaa, who was a commander of the National Liberation Army (ALN) which fought the French and a founder in 1963 of the Front for Socialist Forces (FFS), one of Algeria's oldest opposition parties.
The FFS said it was "angry" and "dismayed" at his arrest.
Liberte said Bouregaa had contacted his children to inform them of his arrest but could not say where he was being held or the reason for his detention.


Netanyahu urges rival Gantz to form unity government

Updated 22 min 27 sec ago

Netanyahu urges rival Gantz to form unity government

  • Gantz is yet to respond to the approach by Netanyahu
  • The change of strategy reflected Netanyahu’s weakened position

JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Thursday on his main rival, former general Benny Gantz, to join him in a broad, governing coalition after Israel’s election ended with no clear winner.
A spokeswoman for Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White party, had no immediate response to the surprise offer from Netanyahu, head of the right-wing Likud party.
The change of strategy reflected Netanyahu’s weakened position after he failed again in Tuesday’s election, which followed an inconclusive ballot in April, to secure a parliamentary majority.
“During the election campaign, I called for the establishment of a right-wing government but to my regret, the election results show that this is impossible,” Netanyahu said.
“Benny, we must set up a broad unity government, as soon as today. The nation expects us, both of us, to demonstrate responsibility and that we pursue cooperation.”
On Wednesday, Gantz said he hoped for a “good, desirable unity government.” But he has also ruled out forming one with a Netanyahu-led Likud, citing looming corruption charges against the prime minister. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.