Algeria’s powerful military chief Ahmed Gaid Salah dies leaving a power vacuum

Ahmed Gaïd Salah Algeria’s powerful army chief General Ahmed Gaid Salah has died following a reported heart attack according to the

countries media.

Salah, the country’s deputy minister of defence, supported protesters who called for the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The former president resigned in April after 20 years in power.

The 79 year olds death came less than a week after Abdelmadjid Tebboune was sworn in as the country’s new president, on December 19

a process which he played a major role in pushing through the December 12 presidential elections in the face of stiff opposition on the

streets.

The new president, Abdelmajid Tabboune, has announced a three-day mourning period with another putting the head of land forces,

General Said Chengriha as acting chief of staff of the armed forces.

A survivor from the generation that led Algeria to independence from France in the early 1960s, General Gaïd Salah was the man who

increasingly blocked the demands of the popular protest movement that has rocked the country’s politics since last February.

General Salah was born in 1940 in batna east of algiers, Joined National Liberation Army aged 17, and fought against French colonial

forces and Fought in the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars. After independence in 1962 attended Soviet military academy and rose through

ranks.

Life of a soldier

Born on January 13, 1940 in the eastern Batna province, Gaid Saleh participated in the Algerian struggle against the French colonial rule

between November 1, 1954 and March 19, 1962.

After Algeria’s independence, he pursued his career in the Algerian army, moving up to the rank of major general in 1993.

In 1994, he was appointed as commander of the army’s ground forces during Algeria’s civil war.

After the 2004 presidential election, Gaid Saleh was appointed as Algerian army’s chief of staff.

By John Paul Sama