Bouteflika buried in El-Alia cemetery under high security


ALGER – Former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was buried Sunday in El-Alia cemetery, east of Algiers, amid a strong security presence and official arrangements.

The longest-serving leader of the North African country died on Friday at the age of 84. President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, government officials, family members of the late leader and foreign diplomats gathered at the cemetery.

The late president, who ruled the country between 1999 and 2019, stepped down in April 2019 after weeks of mass protests sparked by his candidacy for a fifth presidential term.

Bouteflika’s career has taken him from the youngest foreign minister in the world to one of the oldest heads of state, but ended in a humiliating fall from power.

The veteran strongman had been living as a recluse since leaving office in April 2019 after the military abandoned him after weeks of street protests sparked by his candidacy for a fifth presidential term.

His muted funeral, no decent lies and only three days of national mourning instead of eight, reflected a mixed legacy that left many Algerians indifferent to the ceremony.

Bouteflika, who first served as foreign minister in the mid-1960s, rose to the presidency in 1999 amid a wave of popular support as his offer of amnesty to Islamist militants helped end a war ten-year calendar.

But despite economic progress amid high oil prices in the early years of his rule, Algeria, a crude exporter, subsequently saw increasing corruption and unemployment, which became the main drivers of the country’s pro-democracy movement. Hirak who finally ousted him.

On Sunday, during his funeral, in the presence of his successor President Tebboune, the Algerian minister of independence Laid Rebiga read a eulogy. An armored vehicle towed his flag-covered coffin onto a cannon carriage adorned with flowers and escorted by lines of police officers on motorcycles.

The procession traveled from Bouteflika’s retirement home to the cemetery east of downtown Algiers, as passers-by filmed it with their cell phones. The ceremony was not broadcast live, and in the streets of Algiers, residents showed little interest.

He suffered a mini-stroke in April 2013 which affected his speech, and he was forced to use a wheelchair, barely appearing in public during a presidential campaign the following year. – Agencies

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