Tags: Algeria | Obit | Military Chief

Algeria's Military Chief Gaid Salah Dies amid Protest Crisis

Algeria's Military Chief Gaid Salah Dies amid Protest Crisis

Monday, 23 December 2019 05:40 AM

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algeria's powerful military chief died unexpectedly Monday, according to government media reports, leaving his country gripped by political uncertainty after 10 months of pro-democracy protests.

Gen. Ahmed Gaid Salah died Monday morning in the military hospital of Algiers after a heart attack, according to state radio and state news agency APS. Algerian media reports said Gaid Salah was 79 or 80 years old.

Algeria's army plays a central role in decision-making in this gas-rich country that is a key ally to Western powers in fighting Islamic extremism.

Gaid Salah was seen as the main power player in Algeria, especially since protesters with his backing pushed out the country's longtime president in April.

He was present at the inauguration of the country's new president just four days ago. He had suffered heart problems in the past, according to Algerian media reports, but his death came a shock to most Algerians.

New President Abdelmadjid Tebboune declared an exceptional full week of mourning, an indication of the military chief's importance.

Gaid Salah is being replaced on a temporary basis by another high-ranking general, Said Chengriha, according to state radio.

Gaid Salah also served as vice-minister of defense in the government. His decision to back protesters demanding the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika earlier this year was pivotal. He was also behind the decision to hold new elections earlier this month.

However protesters later turned against Gaid Salah, demanding instead a wholesale makeover of Algeria's political structure.

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Algeria's powerful military chief died unexpectedly Monday, according to government media reports, leaving his country gripped by political uncertainty after 10 months of pro-democracy protests.Gen. Ahmed Gaid Salah died Monday morning in the military hospital of Algiers...
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2019-40-23
Monday, 23 December 2019 05:40 AM
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