Algerian Air Force Commander Major General Abdelkader Lounes was officially removed from his position, according to the Ministry of National Defense, just 24 hours after sacking Defense Ministry Secretary-General Mohamed Zenakhri and replacing him with General Abdelhamid Ghris.
In a statement, the Ministry indicated that Deputy Minister of National Defense, Chief of Staff of the People’s National Army Lieutenant-General, Ahmed Gaid Salah, will visit the Air Force Command on Wednesday where he will chair the appointment ceremony of Major-General Hamid Boumaaza as Commander of the Air Force.
Over the past two months, about 20 senior officers have been sacked and replaced.
During Lounes’ tenure, two military planes have crashed - One in 2013 when at least 63 people were killed and another last February, claiming the lives of more than 250 people. The army has opened an investigation into the two incidents, but has not announced the results.
French-speaking opposition newspaper al-Watan reported that based on the military prosecutor’s order, the homes of five army generals, who are under travel ban, were searched a few days ago.
The newspaper was referring to the commander of the first military zone in central Algeria, Lahbib Chentouf, the commander of the second military zone, Major General Said Bey, fourth military commander Abderrazak Cherif, Director of Finance at the Defense Ministry Boudjemaa Boudouaouar, and the head of the gendarmerie, Major General Menad Nouba.
Watan said the campaign also included the director of the army's social security fund, Major General Mohammad Remili, and commander of Algeria’s ground forces Major-General Ahcene Tafer.
The post of the army’s commander of ground forces is highly respectable. It has been previously occupied by the current Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaid Salah .
Media sources said some sacked generals were under investigation in corruption cases, but no official charges have been issued against them.
The Algerian public has been preoccupied with several corruption cases after 701 kg of cocaine were confiscated at the end of May. Little is known about this case, except that the main culprit, Kamal Shekhi, a red meat importer, is in prison.