According to reports, the Algerian strongman and military chief Ahmed Gaid Salah, known for telling veteran leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign, has died aged 79, official media say.
Gen Salah was one of the last veterans of the 1954-62 independence war against France still in power. No details have been given about the death.
Obinwannem understands that Mr Bouteflika had ruled since 1999, resigned in April after mass protests, leaving Gen Salah as the factor leader.
It was also gathered that Gen Salah was replaced as acting army head by Gen Said Chengriha and three days of mourning have been announced. Gen Salah played a major role in organising presidential elections on 11 December, which were boycotted by the opposition. He said they were necessary to avoid the country descending into chaos.
It was the military chief who announced on 26 March that article 102 of the constitution – allowing the president’s removal on grounds of ill health – should be applied.
It was believed that Ever since independence, the army has been the real centre of power in Algeria, arbitrating factional conflicts among politicians and business interests, making and unmaking presidents.
However, Gen Salah, head of the army since 2004, was a central figure in this system.
Nwada Ugochinyere Onyechere reporting Obinwannem News