Algerian Army Commander Denies Having ‘Political Ambitions’

Algerian Army Chief of Staff General Gaid Salah has denied rumors of having political ambitions given the influence he has enjoyed since President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has resigned in early April.

Salah made his remarks during a visit to the military academy, saying the “despicable and repeated campaigns targeting the army, which is taking very honest and deliberate steps with awareness and foresight, are futile and with no results because their intentions are exposed.”

He was referring to the harsh criticism he has been subjected to for the past week after ordering the arrest of all protesters raising Berber banners in Friday’s demonstrations.

Salah attacked his critics and accused them of playing the guardians’ role, “thinking they could invest in Algeria’s crisis, not keeping in mind that Algerians are competent and have thinking abilities and patriotism in terms of analyzing situations.”

“The only ambition we have is to serve the country and enable it to overcome the crisis and achieve constitutional legality,” Salah was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia and intelligence chief Mohamed Mediene have been facing health problems in jail, according to their attorneys, who demanded transferring them to the hospital to receive treatment.

Mediene’s lawyer told reporters that his client, who has been in military prison since May 4, “is suffering from illnesses and his health is deteriorating.”

He pointed out that the Ministry of Justice rejected his demand for Mediene to receive treatment in a public hospital.

“Many prisoners receive treatment in special floors within hospitals in case there were no available means of treatments in clinics within the penal institutions,” he explained.

The lawyer stressed that Mediene suffered shoulder fractures after falling in prison.

“His health condition has deteriorated because he did not receive the necessary treatment and care, and because he was already ill before entering the prison.”

The famous criminal lawyer also explained that he had filed a request for the military examining magistrate to release Mediene until setting his trial date. But has so far not received any response.