Algeria’s interim chief of staff Said Chengriha declared on Monday that the country had confronted a “dangerous conspiracy” aimed at undermining the state.
Those were his first remarks since succeeding lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah, who passed away suddenly last week of a heart attack.
Chengriha was speaking before military commanders, including the general secretary of the Defense Ministry and heads of departments in the ministry.
The conspiracy sought to target constitutional institutions and push Algeria towards “chaos and violence,” he continued in a brief address.
His remarks echoed those of Gaed Salah, who died on December 23.
“The military high command realized the danger of the conspiracy and was able to guide the country wisely and patiently by overseeing and protecting the peaceful rallies without a single drop of blood being shed,” he added.
The military also enabled the state institutions to perform their duties amid the turbulent situation in the country by confronting to all attempts aimed at undermining national unity, continued Chengriha.
He stressed that the military and security forces succeeded in securing free and transparent presidential elections. “We will remain in service of the nation and we will not abandon our constitutional commitments regardless of the challenges.”
“We will confront anyone who attempts to harm our national sovereignty,” he added in reference to the developments in neighboring Libya.
Gaed Salah was widely seen as holding the reins in Algeria after he pushed longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign in April. Algerians have been protesting for months against the country’s ruling elite.
Gaed Salah did not attempt to crush the peaceful protests with violence, but many demonstrators saw him as the main obstacle in their path. He pushed for an election to replace Bouteflika, a vote the protesters regarded as a charade as the real power would remain with the army.
Chengriha, like Gaed Salah and most of Algeria's other rulers since independence, is a veteran of the guerrilla war against French rule.
Abdelmadjid Tebboune was elected president earlier this month.