Algeria’s chief of Army staff, Gaid Salah was confirmed dead at age 79, this was confirmed by the state television on Monday, details of the cause of his death was not given.
He was seen as Algeria’s de facto strongman following the April resignation of longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika in the face of massive protests against his bid for a fifth term.
The lifelong military man played a key role pushing through December 12 presidential elections for Bouteflika’s replacement, defying a months-long protest movement that has demanded deep-rooted political reforms before any poll.
As chief of Algeria’s military for a record 15 years and a veteran of Algeria’s war for independence, the general was seen as the guardian of the military-dominated system that has been in power since.
He had supported Bouteflika for years until the president’s February announcement that he would run for re-election sparked unprecedented demonstrations.