Leader of outlawed Algeria Islamist party dies in exile

AFP , Wednesday 24 Apr 2019

Abassi Madani
File Photo of Abassi Madani (Photo: AFP)

The founder of an outlawed Algerian opposition party that pushed for the creation of an Islamic state died Wednesday in Qatar where he was living in exile, his close ally told AFP.

Abassi Madani died at the age of 88 "in a Doha hospital after a long illness", said Ali Belhadj, adding that family members had informed him of the death.

Madani, who had lived in Qatar since 2003, founded the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) with Belhadj in 1989.

He called for armed struggle in 1992 after Algeria's military scrapped the country's first multi-party legislative elections.

The FIS had been on track to win an absolute majority in the polls and the ensuing violence plunged the country into a decade of civil war that left 200,000 dead, according to official figures.

Madani "wanted to be buried in Algeria, but I don't know if it will be possible", Belhadj added.

The former head of FIS's armed wing Madani Mezrag confirmed Madani's death, telling AFP he too had been informed by family members.

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