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Algeria ex-presidential guard chief charged — report

By AFP - Nov 30,2015 - Last updated at Nov 30,2015

ALGIERS — The former head of Algeria's presidential guard has been charged over a shooting at a presidential residence outside the capital in July, the El Watan newspaper reported on Monday.

General Mejdoub Kehal, better known as Djamel, had already been dismissed from his post in August and last month he was prevented from boarding a flight to Paris.

He had been chief of security for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika from 2004 until the July shooting in the seaside resort of Zeralda, 30 kilometres west of Algiers.

Four of his aides are also to face prosecution in the military court in Blida, the headquarters of the first military district which includes the capital.

Djamel was one of three senior army officers who were replaced in July.

There has never been any official explanation of the reasons but press reports at the time said they had been accused of negligence over the incident at Bouteflika's residence in which two security guards sparked panic by firing shots.

The director for internal security, Ali Bendaoud, and the head of the Republican Guard, Ahmed Moulay Meliani, were also replaced.

Since his election to a fourth term in April 2014, Bouteflika and his aides have pushed through major changes in Algeria's shadowy intelligence and security apparatus, which some considered a "parallel state" within the North African nation.

On Thursday, Algeria's former counterterrorism chief Abdelkader Ait Ouarabi, better known as General Hassan, was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of destroying documents and disobeying military orders.

His closed door trial was the country's first ever prosecution of a high-ranking secret service officer.

In September, the president also replaced General Mohamed Mediene — better known as General Toufik — after 25 years at the head of the powerful DRS intelligence agency.

Meanwhile, Algerian soldiers killed two militants during an army sweep on Sunday in Tizi Ouzou province, east of the capital, the defence ministry said.

The troops had so far seized two Kalashnikov assault rifles, ammunition and eight mobile phones during the operation near Aghrib, north of the town of Azzazga.

 

Militant violence rocked Algeria in the 1990s but has since waned, although armed groups remain active in central and eastern Algeria where they mount attacks on security forces.

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