Category Archives: Maghreb

Bouteflika refuses to renounce 5th mandate

Despite Algerian demonstrations calling to renounce presidential ambitions, the incumbent President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (82) has registered on March 3 his candidacy. However, in case he is elected on April 18, he promised in written an early presidential election in less than a year. Many Algerians have déjà vu feeling, while hearing this promise to leave. In 2014 the leader announced: “‘I will amend the Constitution & hand over power to the youth”. Five years later he requests an additional year.

The fifth term and an early presidential election in less than a year, this is the imposed ‘proposal’ of Abdelaziz Bouteflika aimed at calming down the indignation of Algerians, who find themselves in a situation when their country is led from one of the Swiss clinics ward.

The package proposed by Abdelaziz Bouteflika is obviously designed to calm the revolt of Algerians who demand his definite departure.

On March 3, the last day of the registration for presidential candidates  the head of state has sent his new campaign director, Abdelghani Zaalane, to read a letter in which he says he is “determined” to re-election to “assume the historical responsibility for the realization of the basic requirement of the people, that is to say the change of the system“. In this letter, he also says he wants to organize “an early presidential election” in less than a year and agrees not to “be a candidate for this election that will ensure [his] succession”.

Nobody had doubts about Abdelaziz Bouteflika ambition to go for a fifth term, especially after his decision to sack his campaign director, Abdelmalek Sellal before the registration deadline.

Several hundred students chanting “Bouteflika get out!” or “No fifth term for Bouteflika!” have demonstrated in Oran, Constantine or Annaba, and in Algiers, where they marched to  President’s Palace el-Mouradia and to the Constitutional Council, the latter ruled that Bouteflika is not obliged to be physically present, while registering his candidacy. This opinion contradicted the electoral commission request to all candidates to submit the documents in person.

А call for a general strike has been launched for Monday, March 4. “A million and a half” invited to continue to demonstrate Friday, March 8 throughout the country.

 

Algerians protest against 5th Bouteflika mandate

Algerians went to streets calling on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to leave office in the country’s biggest anti-government demonstrations since the Arab Spring eight years ago.

The protests started as peaceful but degenerated to some clashes between police and demonstrates broke out in capital Algiers near the presidential palace.

Several protesters and policemen were wounded during clashes in Algiers, state television said. Local sources reported around 60 wounded, and 45 detained.

Bouteflika (82) has not directly addressed the protesters. Last week the officials said he would travel to Geneva for medical checks. Fading health of the President has been central to debate about his capabilities to function, as he has almost disappeared from public view since he suffered a stroke (2013). Citizens rarely had an opportunity to see the wheel-chair bound, and visibly frail President, however the the country’s powerful clans prefer him to stay on as a guarantor of their might.

 

Morocco anti-terrorist raids continue

Morocco arrested a Swiss-Spanish double national on December 29 in connection with the killing of two Scandinavian tourists (pictured above), the counter-terrorism agency confirmed.

The authorities said he also held Spanish nationality with residence in Morocco.

The suspect was arrested for “involvement in recruiting Moroccan and sub-Saharan nationals to carry out terrorist plots in Morocco against foreign targets and security forces in order to take hold of their service weapons”, the Central Bureau for Judicial Investigations (BCIJ) said.

Nineteen other men have been arrested in connection with the case, including four main suspects who had pledged allegiance to Islamic State in a video made three days before the tourists’ before killings of Scandinavian women.

However police and domestic intelligence spokesman Boubker Sabik this week described the four men as “lone wolves”, and said “the crime was not coordinated with Islamic State”.

Mutilated corpses of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway were found by passing by tourists on December 17 near the village of Imlil in the Atlas Mountains.

 

40 alleged terrorists killed in Egypt

Egyptian security forces eliminated 40 alleged terrorists in raids in the Giza and North Sinai regions according state media, a day after four people were killed in a tourist bus explosion next to Great pyramids

 

The raids, conducted at dawn Saturday, December 29, targeted three whereabouts of suspected terrorists who were planning hostile acts during the Christmas holidays, according to the state-run Al-Ahram online newspaper.
Ammunition, firearms and improvised explosive devices were recovered in significant numbers, Al-Ahram said, citing the Interior ministry statement.
The raids were ordered after the bus attack “as a continuation of the ministry’s efforts in chasing terrorist elements involved in the implementation of hostile operations seeking to destabilize the country’s security,” the statement said.
Information was available to the national security sector about the preparation and planning of a series of terrorist attacks targeting state institutions, especially economy, tourism industry, armed forces, police and Christian houses of worship.”
Three Vietnamese tourists and an Egyptian tour guide were killed and at least 11 people were injured in the attack December 28, in a lively tourist area of Giza, near Cairo, at proximity of Great pyramids.

Two dead in terrorist attack in Egypt

According to the information of the Interior ministry two people died instantly, and 12 others were wounded in touristic bus explosion in Egypt. Among victims tourists from Vietnam and China. The incident took place next to a popular site of Great Pyramids of Giza.

Egypt authorities qualified the blast as a terrorist attack, highly likely of Islamic state (Caliphate).

The bus was carrying 12 Vietnamese tourists  near near the Giza Pyramids, when an homemade device placed near a wall along the Mariyutiya street went off.
Two people died instantly, 10 were injured as well as the bus driver and the tour guide, both Egyptians.

29.12.2018 (01:20) AMENDED:

The Egyptian tour guide later succumbed to his wounds in hospital, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly told journalists. The death toll was then further raised to four as one of the tourists also died in the hospital, according to the office of the Egyptian Prosecutor General. 

 

Arrests of protesters in Tunisia

Tunisian authorities have arrested 18 people in the wake of protests that erupted after the suicide of a journalist who set himself on fire to protest economic problems officials said.

Among arrested 13 are from the provincial city of Kasserine and five others from Tebourba, near Tunis, Interior Ministry spokesman Sofiane Zaag said.

The most violent protests erupted in Kasserine, in west central Tunisia, where police used tear gas to disperse violent demonstrators throwing stones. According to ShemsFM radio, the military was deployed to reinforce police to deal with the protests and secure state buildings.

Tripoli: Foreign ministry attacked

The suicide bombers attacked the building Foreign ministry in Tripoli (Libya) on December 25, leaving three dead and nine wounded according to Health ministry sources.

The assailants are suspected to be Islamic State (Caliphate) militants. Three attackers opened fire, entered the building and blow themselves up.

There are reports of fire going on, and photos of a cloud of a dense smoke above the roof of the building.  The emergency services and security are working at spot.

Suicide bombers have targeted a number of institutions as militant groups take advantage of the collapse of the Libyan state after the assassination of the countries leader Colonel Qaddafi of 20 October 2011. Since then Libya has been fragmented, victim to political rivalry, and is widely considered to be a failed state.

AMENDED:

“The terror attack today against the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs further threatens the fragile security situation in Tripoli. We offer condolences to the families of the victims and wish a quick recovery for those injured” – said the External Action Service spokesperson statement published 5:30 pm – 25 Dec 2018.

“This and similar attacks against the sovereign institutions of Libya are unacceptable and those responsible must be held to account. The Libyan people have suffered too much violence already, they deserve to live in a peaceful, stable and secure country.

“We expect all legitimate Libyan stakeholders to rally towards this goal by putting the interest of the Libyan people first. We continue to support the efforts by the UN Special Representative to implement the re-calibrated UN Action Plan to move forward with the transition and to end the political crisis in Libya.”

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