Algeria’s founding president, Ahmed Ben Bella, dies at 95
ALGIERS - Agence France-PresseAhmed Ben Bella, the first president of independent Algeria and one of the 20th century’s most vocal anti-imperialists, died on April 11 at the age of 95.
Ben Bella, who had recently been released from a hospital stay for respiratory problems, died at his family home in Algiers, state news agency APS reported. “Today we lost one of modern Algeria’s bravest leaders,” said current President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in a message of condolence read on national television. He declared an eight-day period of national mourning from April 11. The funeral will be held April 13 at Algiers’ El Alia cemetery. A hero of Algeria’s independence from France, Ben Bella was president from 1963 to 1965, when he was overthrown by his defense minister, Houari Boumediene, a close ally of Bouteflika.
Born December 25, 1916 to poor farmers, Ben Bella was a school dropout who only learnt to read and write Arabic in prison. He became involved in nationalist
politics as a schoolboy, joining the Algerian People’s Party of Messali Hadj.