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Former Defense minister Khaled Nezzar dies aged 86

Former Defense minister, Major-General Khaled Nezzar died on Friday, December 29, at the age of 86 following a long sickness. 

Born on December 25, 1937 in Seriana, in the current wilaya of Batna in Algeria, Khaled Nezzar held the position of Army chief of staff from 1988 to 1990, and then that of Defense minister from 1990 to 1993.

Khaled Nezzar was the mastermind behind stopping the electoral process which gave victory to the islamists of the dissolved FIS in the legislative elections of 1991.

The FIS project, which promised to Algeria the installation of a theocracy, stumbled upon the determination of the army which was a target to armed islamists’ violence long before the creation of the FIS. 

The FIS, which had 32 000 armed men in 1993, having declared Jihad against the Republican order following the intervention of the army and the shutdown of the electoral process, Algeria fell into a war of attrition. 

Nezzar left positions of power in 1993 following disagreements at the top of the military hierarchy on methods to fight terrorism which was erected by islamists as a means to take power. 

Conspiracy theorists supported by the Trial NGO, who were intending to prosecute the army, accusing it of abuses against civilians, had initiated legal proceedings against him in Switzerland for alleged war crimes. Without success. 

Nezzar, who turned to business after he left the army, wrote memoirs and published several books. He regularly weighed in on political debates as one of the authorized voices of the military institution.