Former Algeria president Bouteflika dies aged 84
Algiers, Sep 18 (EFE).- The former president of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika has died at the age of 84 following a long illness, the presidential office said in a statement.
Bouteflika suffered a stroke in 2013 that debilitated his speech and movement.
Born on 2 March 1937 in the Moroccan city of Oudja, Bouteflika joined the revolution against French colonialism at a young age and later led Algeria between 1999-2019, when his tenure was brought to an end due to pressure from his own government and mass street protests.
The so-called Hirak movement continues to protest against the military authorities in charge of the country since its independence from France in 1962.
Bouteflika was Algeria’s longest-serving head of state.
At 19, Bouteflika joined the National Liberation Army, the armed wing of the National Liberation Front (FLN) that fought against France’s rule of the expansive North African nation.
Intelligent and sagacious, he became a member of the inner circle of revolutionary former president Houari Boumediene in 1958 and later, at just 25-years-old, he was appointed as minister for youth, sport and tourism.
By 1979 his influence had waned and he was accused of corruption, charges that eventually led him to flee Algeria until 1987.
He remained on the sidelines of politics for much of the Algerian civil war between the state and Islamist forces that in the 1990s caused the death of an estimated 150,000 people.
After his overwhelming victory at the polls, he formalized the truce and offered a process of dialogue and national reconciliation that brought the bloodshed to an end on June 6, 1999.