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The attack on the aircraft of the King of Morocco 1972 (part 12)

Boeing of the King of Morocco after the emergency landing. AFP

On 10 July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat. The following year airmen made a new coup, this time the plane of King Hassan II, on his return from France, was attacked in the air by jet fighters.

In the near future the Amazigh Information Centre will reconstruct this historical event with short articles. We will do so on the basis of testimonies from people who have experienced this event, such as the fighter pilot Salah Hachad, books by critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith and various newspaper articles.

An execution during the Second World War

The execution of eleven people on an Islamic holiday
For the execution of the death penalty, the choice was made for the day of an Islamic holiday: the Feast of Sacrifice or the ‘Great Feast’, which falls on 13 January 1973. Eleven people were shot by the firing squad on the firing range of the airbase in Kenitra. Below is the rank, name, age and family situation of the soldiers who were killed:
1- Lieutenant-Colonel Mohamed Amekrane, 39 years old, father of two children.
2- Major El Ouafi Kouira, 38 years old, father of two children.
3- Captain El Hadj Larabi, 35 years old, father of three children.
4- Lieutenant Abdelkader Ziad, 35 years old, father three children.
5- Lieutenant Ahmed Boukhalif, 27 years old.
6- Second lieutenant Lyazid El Midaoui, 39 years old, father of six children.
7- Adjutant Abdelkader Mehdi, 33 years old, father of two children.
8- Sergeant Tahar Bahraoui, 25 years old.
9- Sergeant Larbi Binou, 29 years old.
10- Sergeant Ahmed Belkacem, 28 years old, father of two children.
11- Adjutant Abderrahman Kamoun, 25 years old.
*The age and spelling of the names of some of the executed soldiers vary by source.

Execution platoon of the soldiers of Ahermoumou in 1971

The execution of Kenitra was not broadcast on Moroccan state television like that of the soldiers of Ahermoumou in 1971. At the scene of the execution, Lieutenant Lyazid El Midaoui encouraged his friends, calling them to be brave and to die courageously. Lieutenant-Colonel Mohamed Amekrane asked Captain El Hadj Larabi for forgiveness, he replied, “It is a great honor to die with you. Amekrane had to shed a tear, which his lawyer Farouki noticed and asked him why he was crying. Amekrane replied, “I am crying because these innocent people will be executed”.

Kenitra’s condemned soldiers did not fall into the same trap as Ahermoumou’s. The latter was told that the death sentence would not be carried out in the event that they called out “long live the king” at the place of execution. A few of them fell for it and shortly before the order was given to the firing squad to shoot: long live the king. They were shot just like the rest. A few of those present said that they had died a cowardly death. The soldiers of Kenitra did not ask for the king’s forgiveness and did not wish him a long life.

The families of the executed were allowed to take the bodies of their loved ones for the funeral under the watchful eye of the cameras of the intelligence services. Even the dead have not been respected; the family of Amekrane and Kouera were forbidden to bury them in the cemetery of the city of Chaouen: they are buried in a forest, alone and far away from the cemetery. It was also forbidden for people to attend the funeral. Amekrane’s wife would later demand that he be reburied at the city’s cemetery. She dropped this demand after more and more people were buried next to Mohamed Amekrane and El Ouafi Kouira.

This article is to be continued.


Translated by: Najat M.

The attack on the aircraft of the King of Morocco 1972 (part 11)

On 10 July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat. The following year airmen made a new coup, this time the plane of King Hassan II, on his return from France, was attacked in the air by jet fighters.

In the near future the Amazigh Information Centre will reconstruct this historical event with short articles. We will do so on the basis of testimonies from people who have experienced this event, such as the fighter pilot Salah Hachad, books by critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith and various newspaper articles.

Court martial in Kenitra

The court ruling
It was decided to pronounce the court verdict on an islamic holiday: the end of the Ramadan feast or the ‘Little Feast’, which falls on 7 November 1972. Eleven people were sentenced to death: 1- Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Amekrane, 2- Major Louafi Kouera, 3- Captain Larabi El Haj, 4- Lieutenant Ziad Abdelkader, 5- Lieutenant Boukhalif Abdel Hamid, 6- Second Lieutenant El Yazid Midaoui, 7- Adjutant El Mahdi Abdelali, 8- Adjutant El Bahraoui Tahar, 9- Sergeant Binoi Larbi, 10- Adjutant Belkacem Ahmed, 11- Adjutant Kamoun Abderrahman.

Thirty-two people receive prison sentences ranging from three to twenty years, including: Salah Hachad, M’barek Touil, Zemmouri Mohamed, Allal Oulhaj, M’faddel Maghouti, Mohamed Dahho, Mohamed Doukali, Ahmed Ben Boubker, Ahmed Louafi, Batoui, Laidi, Benaissa Rachidi, Sbika, Zyane, Raji, Radi, Demnatte, Kasem Bahraoui, Yekko, Abdelkarim, Mesbah, Haddane, Bouamalate, Larbi Zyane, Chemsi.

Left Ahmed Dlimi, right Mohamed Oufkir, Rabat, October 1965 / AFP

Maghouti, one of the suspects, was sentenced to three years in prison by the court, but his name is on the list of prisoners sentenced to 20 years. His lawyer raises this issue and asks the court for redress. Colonel Ahmed Dlimi, one of the members of the court, has the following reaction: “Stop it, there is no difference between three years or twenty years of imprisonment, it is all the same“. Later in this story it will become clear what Colonel Dlimi means by this. Ahmed Dlimi (1931-1983) is an aide to King Hassan II. He becomes director of the secret service after the death of Oufkir. He died in 1983 under very suspicious circumstances.

Captain Salah Hachad, Al Jazeera 2009

Air Force pilot Salah Hachad declares towards Al Jazeera that on the day of the verdict he saw a crying guard (a gendarme) when he entered the courthouse. When Hachad stood next to him, the guard whispered in his ear: “You have been sentenced to 20 years”. Hachad wondered how the guard could have known this, even though the judge had not yet pronounced a verdict.

The convicts were all taken to Kenitra prison, in a wing reserved for those sentenced to death. They are placed with the prisoners who have been sentenced to death for crimes. The imprisoned military personnel are not allowed to receive visitors, even from their family members. Salah Hachad’s wife gave birth to her second child during the imprisonment of her husband. Salah Hachad is told by his lawyer that he has become a father again.

Mohamed Amekrane, Al Jazeera 2009
Louafi Kouera

The prisoners are told that they will be pardoned by the king. On January 9, 1973, the gendarmerie, led by Lieutenant Fadoul, entered the prison and took Kouera and Amekrane to an unknown destination. Later, it will appear that they were taken to Hassan II in Rabat. After two days of absence, they were returned to the prison in Kenitra around three o’clock in the morning. The fellow prisoners hear that Kouera and Amekrane are in enormous pain: they have been severely tortured for two days, says fellow pilot and fellow prisoner captain Salah Hachad to Al Jazeera in 2009. Kouera shouts to Amekrane: “Why? Why didn’t you tell him [Hassan II] what he wanted to hear? When he asked you questions and promised to release us? You are the cause…” But Amekrane did not answer, either to Hassan II or to his friend Kouera.

Perhaps Hassan II wanted a confession from Amekrane that political parties are involved in the coup attempt. On the day of the execution of the coupleggers, three prominent members of the Moroccan political parties M’hamed Douiri, Omar Benjelloun and Mohamed Elyazghi were sent bomb letters. Mohamed Elyazghi escaped death and had to be operated on, he will carry the visible mutilation of the bomb all his life.

Hassan II liked people to ask him for forgiveness. Shortly before the trial of the soldiers of Ahermoumou the following order was given to his closest associates: “Condemn the soldiers to the maximum punishment and then leave to me the choice to grant their pardon”. After Amekrane was sentenced to death, he did not ask Hassan II for a pardon. That hit the king hard, as if Amekrane had committed a second attack against Hassan II.

This article is continued.

Source: https://medium.com/@AmazighInformatieCentrum/de-aanslag-op-het-vliegtuig-van-de-koning-van-marokko-1972-deel-11-379dd70ed82f

Translated by: Najat M.


Spain made intensive use of German chemical weapons during the Rif independence War in the 1920s to combat the Riffian resistance. To date, the Moroccan government has refused to give any openness about its effects on health and the environment in Rif. This despite repeated questions from civil societies in Rif.

Below you can read an article by Jan Hoffenaar historian connected to the Military History Section of the Army Staff Kingdom of the Netherlands.


Jan Hoffenaar NRC Handelsblad, 02 March 1991

By Rudibert Kunz and Rolf-Dieter Muller
239 pages, geill., Rombach and Co 1990, f 45
ISBN 3 7930 0196 2

The Geneva Protocol was solemnly signed on 17 June 1925. The (first) use of chemical and bacteriological weapons was therefore prohibited. Representatives from Spain, France and Germany also signed the agreement.

In the summer of the same year 1925, the use of combat gases against the rebellious Rifkabyls in Morocco reached a peak. Spain and France were the perpetrators.

This sensational coincidence is described by television editor Rudibert Kunz and historian Rolf-Dieter Muller in „Giftgas gegen Abd el Krim” associated with the Militargeschichtliches Forschungsamt in Freiburg.  Until recently, everyone assumed that the Italian-Abyssinian war (1934-1936) was the first military conflict to be decided by gas, and the war between Iran and Iraq, which included the use of combat gases by Iraq in the summer of 1988 led to a truce, as the second case.

Kunz and Muller show conclusively in their book that the war in Morocco was the actually the first and that it served as an example to the Italians. The war against the Rifkabyls, one of the few unabashed Berber peoples, was also the first war in which poison gas bombs were dropped from the air on a large scale. In Morocco happened what everyone was so afraid of after the terrible experiences with war gases in the First World War.

The authors give us a glimpse into the chemical arms trade and manage to make it plausible how the German deliveries to Iraq (they still speak of a ‘begrundete Suspect’) and their help with the construction of a battle gas factory in Libya fit in with a long German tradition.

Why was there a war in Morocco, how was it conducted and how was Germany involved? The northern part of the Sultanate of Morocco had been a protectorate of Spain since 1912. However, the protector, who had a number of enclaves on the North African coast for several centuries, was unable to actually control the area. Conventional weapons and a numerical predominance proved insufficient to bring the fanatical Rifkabyls to their knees in the inhospitable terrain.

The uprising was also followed with suspicion by the colonial powers. The actions of Abd el Krim, who proclaimed the islamic Rif Republic in February 1923, sparked the newly created Islamic nationalism and constituted a threat to the European colonial power position. The right of peoples to self-determination, so nicely enshrined in the fourteen points of American President Woodrow Wilson, clearly did not apply to non-white peoples.

Spain has sought and found support from the German Reichswehr’s military since 1920. They did everything they could to avoid the humiliating provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. Among other things, Germany was denied any interference in the field of war gases. Chemical weapons were to be collected and destroyed in Munsterlage-Breloh. In practice, however, they were stored as much as possible and partly sold to other countries, such as Spain, Italy, Yugoslavia, Japan, China, Turkey, Romania, Sweden and Brazil. The key figures in these transactions were Professor Fritz Haber, initiator of German battle gas production and in 1918 winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, and Dr. Hugo Stoltzenberg, who was both an arms supplier and gas strategic advisor to the Reichswehr.

The Germans not only supplied various combat gases, but also made their technology available to the Spaniards. Under their leadership, poison gas plants were built in Maranosa, an hour’s drive south of Madrid, and in Melilla on the Moroccan coast. There, a non-toxic intermediate (Oxol), which was produced in spite of all bans in the Stoltzenberg chemical plant in Hamburg, was converted into the notorious mustard gas, also known as yperite, Lost and Gelbkreuz.

Germany, which also participated in the construction of a poison gas plant in Russia since 1923, had different interests in military cooperation with Spain. All this offered the opportunity to keep the knowledge up to date and the chemical plant in Hamburg up and running. Moreover, the soldiers were able to learn a lot from the first aerochemical war in history through their own observation. In addition, the Germans had economic interests in Morocco. The Mannesmann brothers had built up a network of mining concessions, trading companies and agricultural companies there in the previous decades. In the French part of Morocco they had already lost their influence after 1918. In the Spanish part they hoped to keep it by a Spanish victory.

In addition, an emotional factor played a role in the German attitude. Part of the French troops occupying the Rhineland – an extremely humiliating experience for Germany – came from Morocco. A big problem was the children they had there, the Rheinlandbastarden, which were later sterilized under Hitler.

In the middle of 1924 the Spaniards, led by General Primo de Rivera, who had taken over power in Spain the previous year with the promise to resolve the Morocco crisis quickly and honorably, proceeded to a tactical retreat. That happened entirely against the wishes of Franco, who at that time was the commander of the foreign legion. After the evacuation, the air bombing started with mustard gas bombs in the areas of the insurgents.

At the end of 1924, the French joined the battle. The revolt of the Rifkabyls, which, like the Kurds, were separated by artificial borders, had also spread to the French protectorate area. The hero of the First World War, Petain, took over the supreme command there in 1925.

Although there are too few clues to precisely reconstruct the so-called ‘contamination strategy’, Kunz and Muller suspect that it consisted of two phases based on notes from Nobel Prize Stolzenberg. First villages, farmland and water sources were contaminated with mustard gas, so that the rebels no longer had any bases, and then the roads, shelters and caves were contaminated and smoked. Fire bombs were also dropped.

The effect of mustard gas is terrible, as the horrible images from the first Gulf War have also shown. The liquid penetrates through all clothing and after a few hours causes blisters and wounds that are very painful. The vapors cause temporary or permanent blindness and affect the respiratory organs. The Rifkabyls could not protect themselves and did not know how to combat the infection and treat the wounds. Many died as a result.

With the help of gas and airplanes, a force of half a million French and Spaniards finally managed to defeat the insurgents. Abd el Krim surrendered in May 1926 and the war was finally over in 1927.

We already knew that war gases were used in Morocco. Although we do not find any clue about gas use in the official historiography of the war, Historia de las Campanas de Marruecos, David S. Woolman, among others, makes this in Rebels in the Rif (1968) report. What we did not know, however, is that the use of gas has been so extensive and decisive for the outcome of the battle. How can that be explained? Those involved kept their mouths shut as much as possible. They also diverted attention, camouflaged the effort and bluntly denied it. Moreover, agreements about chemical cooperation were usually made verbally. Journalists were excluded from the scene of war as much as possible. The victims were not heard. A cry for help to the International Committee of the Red Cross received no follow-up because the Spanish government did not allow a mission from this organization to Spanish Morocco.

Another explanation for the unfamiliarity with the true circumstances of the war in Morocco is, of course, that the important archives in question remained closed to historians. Kunz and Muller rely primarily on German archives. Official Spanish sources remained closed to them, while Morocco did not cooperate at all. In the French archives, the authors have hardly, if at all, investigated, a strange omission.

The authors did, however, have the notes of Dr. Stoltzenberg, who wrote down and commented on all his actions. Skillfully comparing the scarce data and the annotations with the better documented descriptions of the Italian-Abyssinian war, in which the circumstances were comparable to those in the Rif war, many things that have not yet been clarified could be understood. Nevertheless, the comment made twice that the gas deployment in the Rif was an example for the Italian campaign in Abyssinie is not further substantiated by Kunz and Muller.

Gift gas gegen Abdel Krim presses us again, also through many penetrating photographs, on the terrible facts of chemical warfare.  Moreover, the book teaches us that a healthy skepticism towards compliance with international agreements, especially with regard to non-conventional means of combat, is highly desirable.  Negotiations on the abolition of chemical weapons have been going on for years, but “man ist nicht weiter als 1925”, as Kunz and Muller remark gloomily.

Source: https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/1991/03/02/marokko-als-proeftuin-voor-duits-gifgas-6958918-a70860
Translation: Najat M.

The attack on the plane of the King of Morocco 1972 (part 10)

Permanent Court of the Royal Army in Kenitra, farmaroc.com

On 10 July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat. The following year airmen made a new coup, this time the plane of King Hassan II, on his return from France, was attacked in the air by jet fighters.

In the near future the Amazigh Information Centre will reconstruct this historical event with short articles. We will do so on the basis of testimonies from people who have experienced this event, such as the fighter pilot Salah Hachad, books by critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith and various newspaper articles.

The criminal trial
During the Skhirat coup attempt in 1971, 10 people were executed the next day for alleged involvement in the failed coup. In this coup attempt, the Moroccan regime was forced to hold a trial for the suspects on the condition of Britain for extraditing Amekrane and el-Midaoui.

Members of the court from left to right: General Belarbi, President Bouachrine, Colonel Dlimi, Colonel Skirrej. On the right Major Kouera

Victims among the members of the court
The trial against the conspirators had already been framed before the start: it should not have a political turn, it should be treated as a crime and it should remain that way. The trial was opened on October 17, 1972 before the permanent court of the Royal Forces in Kenitra, there were two hundred and twenty men in the dock, all of them officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers from the air force base of Kenitra. Most of them had just executed the orders.

At the first session, lawyers of the suspects asked for the challenge of two members of the court: Colonel Ahmed Dlimi and Lieutenant Colonel Boubker Skirrej, both passengers of the attacked Boeing. That already questions the independence of the court. The request for challenge was rejected by the court.

Lt. Col. Amekrane is brave in spite of a real risk of death penalty
When asked by the court why Amekrane committed a coup against the king, he replies: “What Oufkir told me about what is going on in the king’s palace I would conspire against the king, even though if he was my own father“.

Amekrane and other accused during the trial in Kenitra

During the trial there was a film crew in the courtroom who filmed the trial but it was not known what the purpose of the video recording was. During the trial, the suspects heard the phone ring, which may indicate that the members of the court are being instructed.

In the course of the trial, François Mennelet, the special reporter of the French daily Le Figaro in Kenitra, Morocco, was deported. His always well-documented articles had displeased the palace.

Role of the United States
The role of the US, which was briefly mentioned and was quickly put aside by the president. No further questions could be asked about this.  But outside the courthouse this happens all the more emphatically. Undoubtedly, General Medbouh (1927-1971) had been the CIA man in Morocco. Oufkir also maintained close and old contacts with the American secret service. The F-5s had taken off in Kenitra under the eyes of the Americans who had seen the attack on their radar, there was no other way. There are indications, but no evidence.

The American personnel at the Kenitra base turned on the runway lighting when the six F-5 hunters taxi to attack the Rabat Palace, but on landing, after the attack, they have switched off the lighting on the runway and the pilots have landed on the lights of their aircraft. Two American planes were then flown from Kenitra to Spain with perhaps intelligence staff on board. Hundreds of Americans and their families are stationed at the Kenitra base.

Role of France
Whether France had a role in the failed coup is unknown. Morocco is a former colony of France. It has strong economic and political ties with Morocco. France still provides advisers for the Moroccan army. General Oufkir was formed by France in the colonial era. He fought under the French flag in the Second World War and the first Indochinese War. Oufkir was part of the French officials in Morocco during the colonial era.

This article will be continued.


Translated by: Najat M.

The attack on the aircraft of the King of Morocco 1972 (part 9)

Hassan II Boeing 727 after the emergency landing, far-maroc.forumpro.fr

On 10 July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat. The following year airmen made a new coup, this time the plane of King Hassan II, on his return from France, was attacked in the air by jet fighters.

In the near future the Amazigh Information Centre will reconstruct this historical event with short articles. We will do so on the basis of testimonies from people who have experienced this event, such as the fighter pilot Salah Hachad, books by critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith and various newspaper articles.

Arrest of one-third of air force staff
The Kenitra airbase is surrounded by armoured vehicles on the evening of August 16th. About a thousand people work at the Moroccan part of the base, that is one third of the Moroccan air force personnel and they were all arrested and imprisoned without resistance. The king seems to be hiding in the palace of Skhirat and is under the protection of the paratroopers. The events followed quickly, Major Louafi Kouera broke his leg during the parachute landing, he was arrested by the gendarmerie and handed over to the king. When the king hears that one of the fighter jets has crashed and the pilot jumps with his parachute, he gives the order to bring the pilot to him.

General Mohamed Oufkir, Getty Images

Death of Oufkir
In the early hours of August 17th, the official press agency MAP, Maghreb Arab Press, reports that General Oufkir committed suicide during the night. There are doubts about this version of the story. The general is said to have been shot because he is the head of the conspirators. His wife Fatima and daughter Malika state that Oufkir’s body has four separate gunshot wounds. This is too much for someone who was known as a good shooter to commit suicide. The right hand of Hassan II, General Mohamed Oufkir (1920-1972) is said to have been shot through by General Hafid Allaoui and Colonel Ahmed Dlimi and then Hassan II gives his Minister of Defence the shot.

The Moroccan newspapers and radio publish the news about the attack in a sharply censored form. At the airport of Casablanca, all foreign newspapers of incoming travelers are confiscated.

Lt. Colonel Amekrane, far-maroc.forumpro.fr

Delivery of Lieutenant Colonel Amekrane
On 18 August it was announced that the British government had extradited Lieutenant-Colonel Amekrane and Lieutenant-El-Midaoui to Morocco at night. The only explanation given is that ‘their presence in Gibraltar is not in the public interest’. London fears that the three thousand Moroccans working on the rock would be recalled to their country if extradition were refused and that supplies to the English colony blocked by Spain would be stopped. The English press has strongly condemned this decision. Colonel Amekrane’s German wife, together with her two minor children, left Morocco on 17 August 1972, Rachid (1964) and Yasmina (1965).

Abolition of the Ministry of Defence
On 19 August, King Hassan II accuses his Defence Minister Oufkir of a perfect crime. According to the king, the general would like to kill him so that the general can set up a council of regents with the nine-year-old crown prince Mohamed as a member. In this way Oufkir, according to Hassan II, wants to take all power. However, there is no evidence to support the king’s claim. At a press conference, Hassan II announced that the posts of Minister of Defence, Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff of the army would be abolished and that he would personally interfere with the army, and added that from now on he would spend four hours a day in the army.

Hassan II (1929-1999)

Captured pilots taken to Hassan II
All the pilots who shot at the Boeing were taken to the king. Colonel Amekrane is also taken to the king after he has been extradited to Morocco on the condition that he will get a ‘fair’ trial. Hassan II makes the following remark to Amekrane: “I sent you to France for treatment and you want to kill me”, he continued, “your days were already numbered, even if you don’t die for the firing squad, your illness will claim your life.” Amekrane will later declare in court that he had decided to eliminate the king after he had heard of the scandals taking place in the palace, even if the king was his own father, he had done the same.

At pilot Boukhalif, Hassan went to take a closer look at him and asked him, “How could you hit my plane with your little eyes?” Boukhalif replied, “I swear to God, if I had known in advance of the coup, I would have shot down the plane. Pilot Boukhalif was only informed in the air of the true nature of his mission.

Children of Oufkir, private archive of the Oufkir family

Family of Oufkir On December 23, the family of Oufkir, his wife Fatima, six children, the youngest of whom is Abdellatif, and a daughter suffering from epilepsy, were taken by army cars to an unknown destination. They will be detained without trial for 15 years in a secret place in the Sahara, followed by 11 years’ house arrest in a penal camp 45 kilometres from Morocco’s largest city, Casablanca.


Translated by: Najat M.

The attack on the plane of the King of Morocco in1972 (part 8)

Rabat-Sale airport, RBA / GMME

In 10 July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat. The following year airmen made a new coup, this time the plane of King Hassan II, on his return from France, was attacked in the air by jet fighters.

In the near future the Amazigh Information Centre will reconstruct this historical event with short articles. We will do so on the basis of testimonies from people who have experienced this event, such as the fighter pilot Salah Hachad, books by critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith and various newspaper articles.

Emergency landing of the Boeing at Rabat-Sale airport, Getty Images

Emergency landing at Rabat airport
The captain of the Boeing succeeded in landing the aircraft at Rabat-Sale airport. This is due to the fact that a wheel is jammed, which causes the aircraft to fall off the runway. The king and the rest of the 60 passengers leave the aircraft, which could explode at any moment.

Passengers leave the bombarded Boeing, far-maroc.forumpro.fr

Operation Pink
Mohamed Oufkir is waiting at Rabat-Sale airport, in the company of other ministers, for the King to welcome him. Just before the landing of the Boeing, Oufkir leaves the company to go to the control tower of the airport. As soon as Hassan II enters the waiting room, three F-5 fighters shave over the airport. They carry out the reconnaissance flight Pink on order of lt. Colonel Amekrane who coordinates the attack from the control tower of Kenitra base.

Red Flight
The king leaves the airport with an unknown destination. He does let the royal procession drive, empty cars whose drivers serve as bait for the attackers. Colonel Amekrane launches Operation Red Flight: Lieutenants Ziad and Boukhalif attack the airfield of Rabat-Sale with machine gun fire. This caused a lot of damage to buildings and cars. Eight people were killed and about fifty wounded, including several ministers.

Rabat-Sale airfield after the attack

Red Lightning and asylum application in Gibraltar
As a final action, Lieutenant Colonel Amekrane launches Operation Red Lightning: six F-5 fighters attack the Royal Palace in Rabat, but the target Hassan II is not in the palace. Amekrane suspects that his superior, accomplice and sponsor of the attack, General Mohamed Oufkir, will not use all means to overthrow the king and leaves the base of Kenitra aboard in a helicopter. Together with his accomplice Lieutenant El-Midaoui, they set off for the British colony of Gibraltar to seek asylum there, because Morocco and Great Britain do not have an extradition treaty.

Royal Palace in Rabat, Wikimedia Commons

Translated by: Najat M.

Source: https://medium.com/@AmazighInformatieCentrum/de-aanslag-op-het-vliegtuig-van-de-koning-van-marokko-1972-deel-8-fd3bea9aabf

The attack on the aircraft of the King of Morocco 1972 (part 7)

Satellite photo of North Africa, NOAA 

On 10 July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat. The following year airmen committed a new coup, this time the plane of King Hassan II, on his return from France, was attacked in the air by jet fighters.

In the near future, the Amazigh Information Centum will publish more short articles on this historical event. We will do this by means of testimonies of persons who were present during this incident, such as the fighter pilot Salah Hachad or referencing books of critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith or various newspaper articles. 

Overflow: a military operation in the Riffian airspace 
North Africa was hit by military coups during the Cold War. In Egypt, Colonel Jamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970), together with other army officers, knocked King Faruk off the throne in the 1950s and then took over power. At the end of the sixties ‘Colonel’ Qadhafi (1942-2011) deposed the Libyan king Idris I with a military coup. In Algeria, the Minister of Defence, Colonel Houari Boumédiène (1932-1978), carried out a coup against President Ahmed Ben Bella in 1965 and then ruled over Algeria until his death. 

Middle: Salah Hachad, Kabazal – Les Emmurés de Tazmamart: Mémoires de Salah et Aïda Hachad. 

On Wednesday 16 August 1972, Lieutenant Colonel Amekrane, who was no longer commander of Kenitra Air Base, surprised his old staff with a visit to the air base. Around nine o’clock, during breakfast in the officers’ mess, Amekrane joked with his friends: “You’re not rid of me yet, I’m back to lead the king’s military escort”. He ordered Captain Salah Hachad, Head of Operations at the airbase, to prepare six warplanes for the king’s escort and security. This is a simple task that the Air Force regularly carries out: during the King’s official flights and visits to Morocco by foreign heads of state, they were given a military escort of fighter planes. 

On this Wednesday, King Hassan II will return from holiday in France using a three-engined private Boeing 727 which will take him from Paris to the Rabat-Sale airfield. Captain Salah Hachad carries out the order of lt Colonel Amekrane and he held a briefing where the names of the pilots who will escort the king were linked to the planes and where also the corresponding procedure is followed.

A squadron of six light fighter bombers of type F-5 will escort the Boeing of Hassan II as soon as the plane leaves the European airspace. According to the regulations of the Air Force, the escort aircraft must be armed, but in Morocco the escort of the king is not armed. 

Mohamed Amekrane, Zamane Magazine

In the afternoon of this summer’s Wednesday, lt. Colonel Amekrane will take a seat in the air traffic control tower at Kenitra Air Base at around 2 p.m. in order to personally lead the operations. The formation of six fighter jets under the command of Captain Salah Hachad flies around 15:30 from Kenitra Air Base and sets course to the North, towards the Rif.

The F-5 squadron starts flying in circles in the triangular area: Tangier, Larache and Tétouan. The F-5’s have no radar board to detect their target. When the Boeing of the king leaves the European airspace, the crew of the Boeing will inform the airfield where the plane will land, Rabat-Sale, who will then inform the air traffic control of airbase Kenitra, the home base of the F-5 escort, by radio communication.

The F-5 squadron flies at 9000 meters, the altitude at which commercial aircraft fly. The leader of the formation, Salah Hachad, flies the two-seater F-5B. Behind him in the cockpit is Lieutenant Doukkali, the other 5 hunters were single-seaters F-5A and are flown by: Major Louafi Kouera, Lieutenant Abdelkader Ziad, Lieutenant Abdelhamid Boukhalif, Lieutenant Dahou and Captain Larabi El Haj. 

The agreement of the escort is that at the sight of the Boeing the squadron of the 6 F-5’s has to split in two, three aircraft will fly next to the Boeing on the right side, the other three on the left side. The F-5 squadron receives a radio message from the control tower of Kenitra that the Boeing is flying into Moroccan airspace and shortly afterwards one of the F-5 pilots observed the Boeing with the naked eye.

Captain Hachad flies towards the Boeing to take up the escort position, he is followed by two hunters and suddenly he hears the message on the radio: get out! Then he hears shots. The operation with the code name Overflow started. An attack in the air on the plane of Hassan II. Three of the six F-5 hunters are armed, their weapons, the M39-cannons, are loaded with ammunition. The attack starts above the area between the cities of Moulay Bousselham and Ksar-el-Kebir. The Boeing has already started the landing and is between 10 and 15 minutes away from its destination, the airfield Rabat-Sale.

M39 cannon, 20 mm calibre, thaimilitaryandasianregion.wordpress.com

Major Louafi Kouera’s F-5 board gunners refused, after which he wanted to take a kamikaze action and said goodbye by radio: “Goodbye, friends, I’m going to sacrifice myself for my country,” but he used his ejection seat to leave the plane. His F-5 falls down, and he lands on his parachute.

Major Louafi Kouera and Colonel Hassan Lyoussi, far-maroc.forumpro.fr

Lieutenant Abdelkader Ziad shoots with one cannon, the second refuses, smoke came from one of the engines of the Boeing. Lieutenant Abdelhamid Boukhalif shouts: “That’s it, I’ve hit him!” The Boeing is getting closer and closer to the airport and the armed pilots have run out of ammunition.

Lieutenant Boukhalif gets an idea, he unloads kerosene from one of his spare tanks on the Boeing but nothing happens. The two aircraft that carried out the attack return to their base at very high speed. The other three, who are not armed, also return, flying after them.

The royal Boeing gets badly damaged, shakes, vibrates, swings, the air pressure drops, two of the three engines are out of action. On board two police officers are dead and Raymond Sasia, bodyguard of Hassan II, is wounded.

Translated by: Najat M.

Source: https://medium.com/@AmazighInformatieCentrum/de-aanslag-op-het-vliegtuig-van-de-koning-van-marokko-1972-deel-7-7818170dbc24

The attack on the plane of the King of Morocco 1972 (part 6)

Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter, Clavework Graphics.

On 10 July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat. The following year airmen made a new coup, this time the plane of King Hassan II, on his return from France, was attacked in the air by jet fighters.

In the near future, the Amazigh Information Centre will use short articles to reconstruct this historical event. We will do so on the basis of testimonies from people who have experienced this event, such as the fighter pilot Salah Hachad, books by critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith and various newspaper articles.

In 1972, the Moroccan Air Force had 38 fighters of which 14 were of the type Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter, known as the F-5. This simple aircraft was produced in the sixties by the American company Northrop according to three conditions: small, light and cheap. The F-5 could be used for different purposes: training, reconnaissance, attack, photography, air defense, escort. On takeoff, an F-5 can be loaded with two times 280 bullets for the two 20mm M39A2 airborne machineguns in the nose of the aircraft, next to missiles and bombs.

F-5 of the American Air Force.

The F-5 was mainly intended for sale to the allies of the United States and was built under licence in Spain and Canada. The Dutch Air Force had 100 aircraft in service, these aircraft served in the Dutch armed forces between 1969 and 1991.

F-5 of the Dutch Air Force, Wikipedia

Two F-5 squadrons of the Moroccan Air Force were stationed at Kenitra Air Base. The Moroccan part of the airbase was manned by about 20 fighter pilots, they had obtained their pilot’s license at Spanish or French military schools. When Morocco replaced the Soviet MiG’s with F-5’s in the mid 60’s, Moroccan pilots travelled to the Williams Air Force Base in Arizona and the Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma for training.

F-5 of the Moroccan Air Force

During their internships in the US, Moroccan pilots felt like fully-fledged pilots: they had the same rights as their American colleagues, they had cars at their disposal, and they received a good salary. They felt free on American soil and were impressed by the development of the country. When they returned to Morocco, they suffered a shock, some pilots felt tears in their eyes and wondered why Morocco hadn’t developed. They lost their salary and many of the rights they enjoyed in the US.

Moroccan pilots, photo from the book: Kabazal – Les Emmurés de Tazmamart: Mémoires de Salah et Aïda

Moroccan pilots fly in very expensive supersonic jet fighters, equipped with high quality equipment and technology, just like the American pilots, but the Moroccans, or some of them at least, have to go to work by public transport because they can’t afford their own transport. They are often forced to help (sick) family members, who are worse off, in their livelihoods. The dissatisfaction within the armed forces was great. The king had raised his salary after the failed coup by Skhirat in 1971, but there were no solutions to the problems within the army, such as corruption, clientelism and the abuse of soldiers in longer ranks. It is forbidden for the military to join a trade union or political party. In August 1972, the army again attempted to take over power in Morocco.

Translated by: Najat M.

Source: https://medium.com/@AmazighInformatieCentrum/de-aanslag-op-het-vliegtuig-van-de-koning-van-marokko-1972-deel-6-ad934159adc0

What is the King doing about the social unrest in Morocco?

Women’s demonstration Imzouren 2017, photo Mohamed El Asrihi

In recent years there have been protests in Morocco in various sectors and regions. People claim their share of the country’s wealth, such as fishing, phosphate and other raw materials that the country is rich in.

Africa’s largest silver mine
In Imider the province of Tinghir there is the largest silver mine in Africa (seventh largest silver producer in the world). The local population doesn’t benefit from it, even worse, the mining company makes the lives of these people more difficult, it pollutes their drinking water and because the company consumes a lot of water, the people from the region have a water shortage. SMI (Société Métallurgique d’Imiter) is part of the Royal Holding Company and has been operating the Imider mine since 1978. This company did not hire people from the region as promised. In the last century, the people of the region have carried out various actions against the negative consequences of this mining operation. Since 2011 the people of Imider have founded a movement: On The Road ’96 -Imider, the purpose of this movement is to stand up for civil rights in Imider. The situation in the region has not changed for the time being.

Water shortage
Poor management and water scarcity are a very serious problem in Morocco, one of the causes of migration. In the southern Zagora region (Tazagurt) of 30,000 inhabitants, 700 kilometres from Rabat, people protested against water shortages in 2017, their protests were met with brutal violence and they were persecuted for participating in unauthorised demonstrations. The King’s response to the problems in Morocco is to build dams, but this has not yielded any results for the average Moroccan, nor does it provide a structural solution to these problems in the long term.

In the east of the country, in the Jerada area near the Algerian border, people also took to the streets after coal mines were closed in this area and people could no longer find work. These protests were also violently suppressed. There is a video in circulation of a boy, Abdelmoula Zaiker, who was deliberately chased by a police car, then hit and seriously injured, and who is now being treated in a hospital in Turkey. The driver of the police car was not even prosecuted.

Death of the fish merchant
In the Rif there were big protests after the death of the fish merchant Muhsin Fikri. These demonstrations were led mainly by young people; they demanded an honest investigation of the death of Muhsin Fikri under the motto: freedom, equality and social justice, they wanted to demonstrate peacefully in the whole Rif area. After six months, the government reacted to these protests by accusing them of being led, financed as separatist from abroad. Hereafter a great wave of arrests in the Rif, which has been a military area since 1958, began. So far, people have been arrested for waving the Rif flag, taking a photo of Abdelkrim Al Khattabi and criticizing the government.

During the large-scale demonstration in Al Hoceima on July 20, 2017, there was even one death, Imad El Attabi was probably killed by a bullet of the security forces during the peaceful demonstration: According to the Moroccan prosecution, an investigation was conducted into the death of this young Riffian, and neither his family nor the Riffians saw the results of the investigation.

The funeral of the activist Imad El Attabi and the death of others.
Many people attended the funeral of Imad El Attabi on August 9 in Al Hoceima, where they held a demonstration using tear gas from the Moroccan police. The Riffian Abdelhafid El Haddad had breathing difficulties and died on 18 August 2017. He left behind a wife and three children. According to several Riffian civilians, the Moroccan police used French tear gas, showing an expired use date.

Najim Abdouni was the chairman of a national “anti-corruption committee” and was familiar with major projects in Al Hoceima for which large sums of money were provided on paper but not or not fully implemented. He was also active in the Rif popular movement. On August 10, 2017, he was found outside his front door, seriously injured, and died the same day in hospital. The Moroccan judiciary had promised an investigation, but had not yet announced any results.

The King takes action
In a speech in 2017, King Mohamed VI praised the violent actions of his police and portrayed them as victims of the Riffian demonstrators. His Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit confirmed in Parliament that the Moroccan police had smashed the doors of civilians in the Rif. There are several videos on social media that clearly show that the Moroccan police terrorized the Riffians in the middle of the night and raided their homes without a search warrant: Private property was destroyed and the doors of defenseless Riffian houses were broken open.

Leaving for Europe
Thousands of demonstrators were filmed by the Moroccan police and then arrested and intimidated; even women and minors have not escaped these human rights violations. There are also stories of Morocco deliberately leaving its international borders unguarded so that young people can flee. The asylum seekers and reception centres in Europe are full of Riffian young people, especially in the Spanish enclave of Melilla. According to the latest news from the Rif, entire families fled the country. A number of Riffians were granted asylum, for example the activist Achraf El Idrissi in Belgium, the lawyer Abdessadek El Bouchtaoui in France, the activist Basset Lamrini in Spain. This year, Nawal Benaissa and her child have applied for asylum in the Netherlands. It is not known whether their application was granted.

Mitigations of the King
As a measure against the social protests, Mohamed VI reintroduced compulsory military service in Morocco this year after it was abolished in 2007. As a second clear measure, King Mohammed says in his speech of 20 August that Morocco will work on the development of rural areas and the agricultural sector and that some 50 billion dirhams are reserved for the period 2016 — 2022. The king also explains that it is not important to have a university degree, but to have a job, and refers his subjects to practical training (vocational training) and manual work.

The number of unemployed graduates in Morocco is increasing, and this is a danger for the regime, as they claim their rights and draw the attention of the uneducated Moroccans to their rights. This is why Morocco is slowly phasing out “free” education. Both measures are in favour of the monarchy: The entry into military service ensures the influx of personnel for the police forces.
The development of the agricultural sector also benefited the Moroccan monarchy, as Morocco’s best farmland was in the hands of the royal family and other Moroccan families who worked with the Spanish and French occupiers between 1912 and 1956. For this reason, the agricultural sector in Morocco is completely exempt from taxation. The royal company is the country’s largest producer and exporter.

Many thanks to Khalid Chamrouki and Pieter v/d Loo.
Translated by: Najat M

Source: Amazigh Informatie Centrum

“Morocco uses spy satellites to smuggle drugs”

Photo NSA

France launched the first Moroccan satellite in November 2017. This satellite was built by France under the name of EO Sat1, later called Mohammed VI-A. The satellite was launched in November 2017. The construction of the first Moroccan satellite is surrounded by much secrecy. The contract was signed in 2013 after the then French President François Hollande visited Morocco in April this year. The cost of the satellite is estimated at 500 million dollars.

Ahmed Reda Chami. Photo MAP

Before the official launch, no Moroccan official had commented on the satellite until the question was put by the press to the Moroccan Ambassador to the European Union, Ahmed Réda Chami, on 26 October 2017. He said: “As Minister of Industry, I worked with a French company on this project in 2009–2010. He had pointed out that it was an observation satellite that was not necessarily used for military purposes. In this way, we can see what is going on in our territory, especially with regard to the weather and its impact on the agriculture, and to follow the smugglers on our coasts”.

Mohamed Hicham Radoui. Photo Facebook

The Moroccan activist in the United States Mohamed Hicham Radoui (1) thinks differently, according to him Morocco will use this satellite to track drug transports in which the King of Morocco is involved. In a December 2017 live video on his Facebook page and various YouTube channels, he combines the disappearance of a large drug shipment in Europe with the King of Morocco’s decision to buy a satellite. In November 2017, a failed attack was carried out in Marrakech on a Dutch-Moroccan rich criminal and his brother, who has also made a name for himself in the drug world. According to Mohamed Hicham, behind the scenes of this drug network stands King Mohammed VI’s advisor, Fouad Ali El Himma, and then his superior, the King of Morocco himself.

Fouad Ali El Himma. Photo Yassine Toumi / TSA

According to Mohamed Hicham, the reason for this failed liquidation is the disappearance of a shipment with cocaine worth 4 billion dollars from the port of Antwerp. Several gangs were involved in this drug deal, the King of Morocco also had his own investment in this drug shipment, but he is not easy to associate with it, says Mohamed Hicham. He accuses: “The disappearance of this cocaine shipment from the port of Antwerp was a great setback for the King of Morocco. That’s why he wants to prevent it from happening again. A Moroccan satellite offers a good solution for keeping an eye on drug transport.

Mustapha Elamiri. Photo Facebook

Mohamed Hicham is not the first Moroccan to accuse King Mohammed VI of involvement in drug trafficking. Mustapha Elamiri (2), a former non-commissioned officer of the Moroccan gendarmerie (military police), worked for this force in various regions of Morocco for 24 years. In videos from last year (2018) on his own YouTube channel, Mustapha Elamiri tells us that during his work as a traffic agent at various roadblocks in Morocco, his superiors ordered him to pass them on when certain trucks pass the roadblock. In addition to informing on the information that the trucks were passing by, they were not allowed to do anything else, he says. According to this old gendarme, these trucks were loaded with drugs from the King of Morocco.

Another Moroccan official who accuses the Moroccan monarch of drug trafficking is Noureddine Boufarra (3), a former policeman of the Moroccan criminal police “recherche”. According to him, King Mohammed VI runs his own drug trade through intermediaries and receives a share of the profits of all major drug shipments reaching Europe.

Noureddine Boufarra. Photo Facebook

The Moroccan press tells the official story about the purpose of the Moroccan satellite, namely that it is used in the fight against illegal immigration and smuggling, in the persecution of jihadist groups operating in the Sahel such as AQIM (Al-Qaida of the Islamic Maghreb) and the pirates dominating the Gulf of Guinea.

(1) Mohamed Hicham Radoui, born 1977 in Casablanca. He lived in several Moroccan cities because his father worked as a senior official for a Moroccan ministry. He studied tourism in Morocco and worked as a director of an officers’ mess in a country in the Middle East. Early on he became interested in Moroccan politics and then in the politics of the world. This was one of the reasons why he realized that his children in the Middle East would not have a good future because this region is very unstable. That is why he and his children emigrated to the United States.

(2) Mustapha Elamiri reports on his YouTube channel that he has taken early retirement alter 24 years of service with the Moroccan gendarmerie. He left Morocco to live in the United States and criticized the Moroccan regime from there. In a series of videos on YouTube, which he called Mémoire d’un gendarme, he talks about his experiences with the Moroccan military police.

(3) Noureddine Boufarra, worked for the Moroccan judicial police. He was kidnapped, abused in Morocco and escaped an assassination attempt. He has applied for asylum in a European country.

Source:Amazigh Informatie Centrum

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