Mohamed Boudiaf

Last updated
Mohamed Boudiaf
Le jeun Mohamed Boudiaf.jpg
Chairman of the High Council of State
In office
16 January 1992 29 June 1992
Prime Minister Sid Ahmed Ghozali
Preceded by Abdelmalek Benhabyles (Acting)
Succeeded by Ali Kafi
Personal details
Born(1919-06-23)June 23, 1919
Ouled Madhi, M'Sila Province, Algeria
Died June 29, 1992(1992-06-29) (aged 73)
Annaba, Algeria
Political party FLN (1954–1962)
PRS (1962–1992)
Spouse(s) Fatiha Boudiaf

Mohamed Boudiaf (23 June 1919 29 June 1992, Arabic : محمد بوضياف; ALA-LC: Muḥammad Bū-Ḍiyāf), also called Si Tayeb el Watani, was an Algerian political leader and one of the founders of the revolutionary National Liberation Front (FLN) that led the Algerian War of Independence (19541962).

Algeria country in North Africa

Algeria, officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. The capital and most populous city is Algiers, located in the far north of the country on the Mediterranean coast. With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, the world's largest Arab country, and the largest in Africa. Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by the Western Saharan territory, Mauritania, and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea. The country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 48 provinces and 1,541 communes (counties). It has the highest human development index of all non-island African countries.

National Liberation Front (Algeria) political party in Algeria

The National Liberation Front is a nationalist political party in Algeria. It was the principal nationalist movement during the Algerian War and the sole legal and the ruling political party of the Algerian state until other parties were legalised in 1989. The FLN was established in 1954 from a split in the Movement for the Triumph of Democratic Liberties from members of the Special Organisation paramilitary; its armed wing, the National Liberation Army, participated in the Algerian War from 1954 to 1962. After the Évian Accords of 1962, the party purged internal dissent and ruled Algeria as a one-party state. After the 1988 October Riots and the Algerian Civil War (1991-2002) against Islamist groups, the FLN was reelected to power in the 2002 Algerian legislative election, and has generally remained in power ever since, although sometimes needing to form coalitions with other parties.


Early years in the nationalist movement

Mohamed Boudiaf was born in Ouled Madhi (now in M'Sila Province), French Algeria, to a family of former nobility, which had lost its standing and influence during colonial times. His education was cut short after primary school by poor health (tuberculosis) and his increasing activism in the nascent nationalist movement. A member of the nationalist Parti du Peuple Algérien (PPA) of Messali Hadj, he later joined the successor organization MTLD and its secret paramilitary wing, the Organisation Spéciale (OS). Boudiaf was responsible for organizing the OS network in the Sétif region, storing arms, collecting funds and preparing guerrilla forces. He was sentenced in absentia to 10 years of prison by the French authorities, but avoided arrest.

Ouled Madhi Commune and town in MSila Province, Algeria

Ouled Madhi is a town and commune in M'Sila Province, Algeria. According to the 1998 census it has a population of 6,525.

MSila Province Province in Algeria

M'Sila is a province (wilaya) of northern Algeria. It has a population of 1 million people and an area of 18,718 km², while its capital, also called M'sila, home to M'Sila University, has a population of about 100,000. Some localities in this wilaya are Bou Saada and Maadid. Chott El Hodna, a salt lake, crosses into M'Sila. However, most of the region is semi-arid and undeveloped.

French Algeria French colony in Northern Africa

French Algeria, also known as Colonial Algeria, began in 1830 with the invasion of Algiers and lasted until 1962, under a variety of governmental systems. From 1848 until independence, the whole Mediterranean region of Algeria was administered as an integral part of France.

When Messali decided to dissolve the OS, his rivals combined with stalwarts of the guerrilla strategy to form the CRUA, a breakout committee designed to lay the groundwork for revolutionary war. Boudiaf was among them, after falling out with Messali, whom he accused of authoritarian tendencies. The CRUA - PPA/MTLD rivalry quickly spiralled towards violence, and would continue during the anti-French revolution until the PPA/MTLD (then reorganized as the Mouvement nationale algérien, MNA) was destroyed. In July 1954, the CRUA-aligned Boudiaf survived an assassination attempt by his former comrades-in-arms, wounded and left for dead on an Algiers sidewalk. [1]

Algiers City in Algiers Province, Algeria

Algiers is the capital and largest city of Algeria. In 2011, the city's population was estimated to be around 3,500,000. An estimate puts the population of the larger metropolitan city to be around 5,000,000. Algiers is located on the Mediterranean Sea and in the north-central portion of Algeria.

Algerian war of independence

The CRUA re-emerged as the Front de libération nationale, or FLN, which began a nationwide armed insurrection against France on November 1, 1954. Boudiaf was by this time a main leader of the movement, and emerged as an important member of the exiled leadership working from Cairo and Algeria's neighbouring countries. In 1956, he was captured along with Ahmed Ben Bella and several other FLN leaders in a controversial aircraft hijacking by French forces, and imprisoned in France. While prisoner, he was symbolically elected minister in the FLN's government-in-exile, the GPRA, at its creation in 1958, and re-elected in 1960 and 1961. He was not released until immediately before the independence of Algeria in 1962, after a brutal eight-year war that had cost between 350,000 and 1.5 million lives. [2]

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Cairo Capital city in Egypt

Cairo is the capital of Egypt. The city's metropolitan area is one of the largest in Africa, the largest in the Middle East, and the 15th-largest in the world, and is associated with ancient Egypt, as the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are located in its geographical area. Located near the Nile Delta, modern Cairo was founded in 969 CE by the Fatimid dynasty, but the land composing the present-day city was the site of ancient national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life, and is titled "the city of a thousand minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture. Cairo is considered a World City with a "Beta +" classification according to GaWC.

Ahmed Ben Bella First President of Algeria

Ahmed Ben Bella was an Algerian politician, socialist soldier and revolutionary who was the first President of Algeria from 1963 to 1965.

After independence: opposition and exile

On independence, internal conflict racked the FLN, which split into rival factions as French forces withdrew. A military-political alliance between col. Houari Boumédiène of the Armée de Libération Nationale (ALN) and Ahmed Ben Bella, of the exiled leadership, brought down their rivals and set up a single-party state under Ben Bella's presidency.

Houari Boumédiène Huari Bumedien

Houari Boumédiène, also transcribed Boumediene, Boumedienne etc., served as Chairman of the Revolutionary Council of Algeria from 19 June 1965 until 12 December 1976 and thereafter as the second President of Algeria until his death on 27 December 1978.

President of Algeria head of state of the Peoples Democratic Republic of Algeria

The President of Algeria is the head of state and chief executive of Algeria, as well as the commander-in-chief of the Algerian People's National Armed Forces.

The increasingly marginalized Boudiaf protested these developments, and founded a clandestine opposition party, the PRS, which briefly revolted against the FLN's single-party government. Boudiaf was forced into exile, and settled in neighbouring Morocco. After Colonel Boumédiène's coup d'état in 1965, Boudiaf remained in opposition, as he did under his successor, Colonel Chadli Bendjedid (in power 1979-92). His PRS group remained intermittently active in its opposition towards the government, but for all intents and purposes, Boudiaf had ceased to be a force of any stature in Algerian politics early on after his exile.

Morocco Country in North Africa

Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country located in the Maghreb region of North West Africa with an area of 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi). Its capital is Rabat, the largest city Casablanca. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Morocco claims the areas of Ceuta, Melilla and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, all of them under Spanish jurisdiction.

Coup détat Sudden deposition of a government; illegal and overt seizure of a state by the military or other elites within the state apparatus

A coup d'état, also known as a putsch, a golpe, or simply as a coup, means the overthrow of an existing government; typically, this refers to an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a dictator, the military, or a political faction.

Colonel is a senior military officer rank below the brigadier and general officer ranks. However, in some small military forces, such as those of Monaco or the Vatican, colonel is the highest rank. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations.

Return as head of state

Boudiaf few days before his assassination Boudiaf with some Algerian kids.jpg
Boudiaf few days before his assassination

In February 1992, after a 27-year exile in Kenitra, 15 miles north of Morocco's capital Rabat, the military invited him back to become chairman of the High Council of State (HCE) of Algeria, a figurehead body for the military junta, following the annulment of the election results (see Algerian Civil War). He quickly accepted, and was instantly signed into the post. Publicly, he was presented as a leader exiled for too long to be tainted by the violence and corruption of Algeria's internal post-revolutionary politics, but the downside was that he was little known to most of the Algerian public. However, his calls for comprehensive reform and an end to military domination of politics instilled hope, and he quickly gained some popularity, even if many still associated him with the military clique that effectively ruled Algeria in his name.

Even as head of state, Boudiaf was completely dependent on the forces that had brought him to power, and his powers were circumscribed by the military and security establishment. In addition, the country continued to drift towards civil war, with increasing Islamist violence in the regions surrounding Algiers and brutal military countermeasures both escalating the situation. The political scene remained chaotic, the economy was fraying, and Boudiaf seemed unable to effectively carry out the reforms he had promised.

Assassination and legacy

On June 29, 1992, Boudiaf's term as HCE chairman was cut short when he was assassinated by a bodyguard during a televised public speech at the opening of a cultural center in Annaba, on his first visit outside Algiers as head of state. The murder caused intense shock in Algeria, and remains a moment of iconic importance in the country's modern history. Boudiaf himself has gained considerably in political stature after his death, and is now referred to by many political commentators as a martyr for Algeria, with many arguing that he could have been the country's savior.

The assassin, Lieutenant Lambarek Boumaarafi, was said to have acted as a lone gunman due to his Islamist sympathies. He was sentenced to death in a closed trial in 1995, but the sentence was not carried out. The murder has, unsurprisingly, been subject to significant controversy and a major magnet for Algerian conspiracy theories, with many suggesting that Boudiaf was in fact assassinated by the military establishment responsible for the coup (and for his installment as HCE chairman). These theories have centered on the fact that Boudiaf had recently initiated a drive against the corruption of the Algerian regime, [3] and stripped several important military officials of their posts.

Boudiaf was survived by his wife, Fatima. She remains insistent that his death has not been properly investigated.

Related Research Articles

The History of Algeria from 1962 to 1999 includes the period starting with preparations for independence and the aftermath of the independence war with France in the 1960s to the Civil War and the 1999 presidential election.

Algerian nationalism has been shaped by Algerian-French dichotomies; tensions between the French, the Berber and the Arabic language and culture; socialist as well as Islamic ideologies; and gendered symbols of nationhood—and continues to evolve in the present manifestations taking place in Algeria. It was inspired by people such as Ben Badis and Djamila Bouhired who were two of the many opposing French colonial rule in Algeria.

Messali Hadj Algerian politician

Ahmed Ben Messali Hadj, commonly known as Messali Hadj, Arabic: مصالي الحاج‎, was an Algerian nationalist politician dedicated to the independence of his homeland from French colonial rule. He is often called the "father" of Algerian nationalism.

Krim Belkacem Algerian revolutionary fighter and politician

Krim Belkacem was an Algerian revolutionary fighter and politician.

Larbi Ben Mhidi Algerian revolutionary

Larbi Ben M'hidi, commonly known as Si Larbi or simply as Ben M'hidi, was a prominent revolutionary leader during the Algerian war of independence. He is one of the six founding members of the Front de Libération Nationale that launched an armed revolt throughout Algeria and issued a proclamation calling for a sovereign Algerian state.

The Algerian People's Party, was a successor organization of the North African Star, led by veteran Algerian nationalist Messali Hadj. It was formed on March 11, 1937. In 1936, the Etoile Nord Africaine (ENA), its predecessor, had joined the French Front Populaire, a coalition of French leftist political parties in power at the time. The relationship lasted a bit over six months. The Front Populaire dissolved the ENA in January 1937, hence the creation of the PPA two months later. Despite using peaceful methods of protest, the group's members were constantly pursued by the police in France and banned by French colonial authorities in Algeria. From 1938 until 1946, it operated as a clandestine organization. However, it had only moderate activities during World War II. There was also great hope that Algeria would be rewarded for its help in liberating France from the Germans, but in May 1945, the events of the Sétif and Guelma massacre ended all hopes.

The Movement for the Triumph of Democratic Liberties (MTLD), name proposed by Maiza, was created October 1946 to replace the outlawed Parti du Peuple Algerien (PPA). Messali Hadj remained as its president.

Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic

The Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic was the government-in-exile of the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) during the latter part of the Algerian War of Independence (1954–62).

Mohamed Khider Algerian politician

Mohamed Khider was an Algerian politician.

Oujda Group

The Oujda group or Oujda clan was a gathering of military officers and politicians in Algeria, during its War of Independence (1954-62) and until approximately the 1970s.

Sadek Hadjeres Algerian politician

Sadek Hadjerès is an Algerian communist.

Abdelhamid Mehri was an Algerian resistance fighter, soldier and politician.

Lakhdar Ben Tobbal Algerian resistance fighter

Slimane Bentebal, better known as Lakhdar Bentobal, is a former Algerian resistance fighter.

Mhamed Yazid was an Algerian independence activist and politician. He joined the nationalist Parti du Peuple Algérien (PPA) in 1942, and later, after moving to Paris, France for university studies, joined its successor organization, the MTLD, where he became a member of the central committee. He was arrested in 1948 and sentenced to two years of prison for "carrying suspicious documents". He later led hunger strikes in prison.

Saïd Mohammedi Algerian politician

Col. Saïd Mohammedi, or Si Nacer, was an Algerian nationalist and politician.

Saad Dahlab was an Algerian nationalist and politician. A long-time national activist, he played a part in virtually all the early Algerian nationalist movements: L'Étoile Nord-Africaine (ENA), the Parti du Peuple Algérien (PPA) and the Mouvement pour la Triomphe des Libertés Démocratiques (MTLD), all of them headed by Messali Hadj. He was jailed by France 1945-46.

Dr. Lamine Khene is an Algerian nationalist politician and former officer. At age 16, he joined the Parti du peuple algérien (PPA) and its successor organization MTLD. Later, he joined the Front de libération nationale (FLN), to become an officer in its military wing, the Armée de libération nationale (ALN) during the Algerian War of Independence (1954–61), in which he fought as a guerrilla soldier from 1955. A medical student, in 1956, he was one of the co-founders of the Union générale des étudiants musulmans algériens (UGEMA), the FLN's student organization which later became the national student organization of Algeria.

Omar Oussedik was an Algerian nationalist politician and independence leader, born in a Berber family from the Kabylie region.

Dr. Mohamed Lamine Debaghine was an Algerian politician and independence activist.


  1. Jacques Duchemin, Histoire du F. L. N., Editions Mimouni, Algiers 2006
  2. Horne, Alistair. A Savage War of Peace. p. 538.
  3. Robert Fisk, The Great War For Civilisation; The Conquest of the Middle East (Fourth Estate, 2005), pp. 665-669.


Political offices
Preceded by
Abdelmalek Benhabyles

as President of the Republic
Chairman of the High Council of State
Succeeded by
Ali Kafi