Algeria detains former counter-terrorism chief

Friday 28/08/2015
\'General Hassan\' had been under surveillance since his retirement

ALGIERS - A retired Algerian intelligence chief, formerly in charge of counter-terrorism, is being held in a military prison after his arrest in Algiers, the daily El-Watan reported Sunday.

After being forcibly retired at the end of 2013, 'General Hassan', born Abdelkader Ait-Ouarab, was arrested at his home on Thursday and is being held in Blida military prison 50 km (31 miles) south of Algiers, the newspaper said.

A security source confirmed his arrest, but gave no further details.

News sites first announced that he had been detained on Friday, but there has been no official confirmation.

For two decades, General Hassan embodied the Algerian army's relentless fight against armed Islamist groups.

But the former head of Algeria's infamous DRS intelligence agency had been under surveillance since his retirement at the orders of a military judge, according to Algerian media.

Allegations against him include "possessing firearms", "withholding information" and "insubordination", El-Watan quoted judicial sources as saying.

For over a year, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been reforming his intelligence services, relieving them of many missions now under the direct control of the army chief.

Last month, Bouteflika replaced the heads of the country's DSI counter-espionage unit, presidential security and Republican Guard.