Algeria Buries Former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

ADDIS ABABA – Algeria has buried its former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika at a cemetery for its independence heroes.

Flags flew at half-mast in the country ahead of the funeral on Sunday of Bouteflika, who died on Friday after a long illness at the age of 84.

The funeral of Bouteflika took place in Algiers without the fanfare accorded to previous leaders, reports the BBC.

The report says his body was carried by a tank for burial at El-Alia cemetery, where his predecessors and other independence fighters are also interred.

Dubbed “Boutef” by Algerians, Bouteflika played a key role in Algeria’s war of independence in the 1950s and 60s.

Then in 1999, as Algeria emerged from a brutal civil war that killed almost 200,000 people, he became president at the urging of the military. He went on to lead the country for almost two decades.

Bouteflika had rarely been seen in public since a stroke in 2013, which affected his speech and mobility.

His final public appearance was in 2017, four years after his stroke, when he inaugurated a metro station and the newly renovated Ketchaoua mosque in Algiers.

When it was announced that the ailing president would run for a fifth term in 2019, protests spread across the country. Bouteflika resigned after initially vowing to postpone elections and step down within a year.

Muted reactions

On the streets of the capital Algiers, many residents told AFP news agency the once-formidable president would not be missed.

“Bless his soul. But he doesn’t deserve any tribute because he did nothing for the country,” said Rabah, a greengrocer.

A retiree, Ali, said Bouteflika “served his country, but unfortunately he made a big mistake” with a fourth presidential term and then by seeking a fifth when he was ill.

– Agencies


Featured Image: Algeria’s former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika died on September 17, 2021, aged 84 [Getty Image]