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Algeria’s powerful military chief, Ahmed Gaid Salah dies of heart attack

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Algerian strongman military chief Ahmed Gaid Salah, known for telling veteran leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign, has died at the age of 79.

Gen Salah, one of the last veterans of the 1954-62 independence war against France still in power, died of a heart attack. Bouteflika, who ruled since 1999, resigned in April after mass protests, leaving Gen Salah as de facto leader.  

The opposition has been calling for the whole of the old regime to quit power. Gen Salah has been replaced as acting army head by Gen Said Chengriha and three days of mourning have been announced.

Late Salah played a major role in organising presidential elections on 11 December, which were boycotted by the opposition, saying they were necessary to avoid the country descending into chaos.  

The election, fought between five candidates closely associated with Mr Bouteflika, was won by former civil servant Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who was dubbed as the “chosen one” on social media because he was seen as being close to the army chief.

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