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Algeria: Bouteflika brother arrested

May 5, 2019

Algeria's military chief has promised protesting Algerians he will pursue high-level corruption prosecutions. The arrest of Bouteflika and two spy chiefs is a major blow against the old guard of Algerian politics.

Demonstrators hold flags and banners demanding the departure of Algeria's ruling elite
Image: Reuters/R. Boudina

Said Bouteflika, the influential younger brother of deposed Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, was arrested on Saturday along with two spy chiefs.

Said Bouteflika was seen as the chief architect of a political system that enriched the oil-rich nation's industrialists at the expense of the rest of the nation. After Abdelaziz Bouteflika suffered a stroke in 2013, he largely usurped the presidential powers and was frequently cited as his most-likely successor.

He was taken into custody by the central security service.

Read more: Algeria: Protesters keep up demand for political rehaul

Also arrested were General Mohamed Mediene, known as Toufik, who led the secret service for 25 years and former intelligence coordinator Athmane Tartag. The two generals held top positions in the power hierarchy established during Bouteflika's long presidency.

The arrests of three key Bouteflika-era figures came amid ongoing turmoil as protesters hold weekly marches demanding trials for the old political elite and radical change to the country's political system.

The trio were arrested for allegedly "conspiring" against the anti-government movement that has run since February.

Read more: Algeria: Protesters keep up pressure on post-Bouteflika loyalists

Major corruption cases

The army remains the most powerful institution in the country. Army chief of staff Ahmed Gaed Salah has promised to purge corrupt politicians, oligarchs and military officials and restore the confidence of the people.

He has promised several major corruption cases are in the works.

aw/bw (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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