Brother of Algeria’s ex-president reported detained

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — The influential younger brother of Algeria’s former longtime president was detained Saturday for questioning along with two generals who previously ran state security agencies, a security official said.

The official confirmed Algerian news media reports saying Said Bouteflika, 61, had been detained. He was a special counselor to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 82, who resigned under pressure on April 2 after 20 years in office.

Said Bouteflika was widely viewed in Algeria as the man at the center of a political system that enriched industrialists while young Algerians suffered rates of high unemployment.

He was arrested along with the two generals: Mohamed Mediene, known as Toufik, who long was in charge of military intelligence service DRS, and Athmane Tartag, who headed the DSS state security service, the official said.

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He said the three were being questioned by the central security service. The security official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the discreet nature of security services.

There was no official from the government on the arrests.

The DSS previously reported to the president, but in a shakeup now is under the Defense Ministry, led by the army chief whose withdrawn support helped push Bouteflika out.

Army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah publicly accused Toufik of plotting against protesters who took to the streets of Algiers on Feb. 22 after the president announced he planned to seek a fifth term. The protests have continued every Friday since then, with Algerians denouncing corruption and demanding that members of Bouteflika’s former entourage also leave office.

Gaid Salah lambasted Said Bouteflika, without naming him, as the man at the head of “the gang” that was running Algeria and had confiscated the ailing president’s power.

Protesters criticize the “leader of the gang” with chants at the weekly protests.

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