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Moroccan army

General Ahmed Dlimi: coup leader or victim of sex scandal?

Ahmed Dlimi, Photo: Maroc Hebdo

Ahmed Dlimi made a career in the Moroccan army. This young army, also known as Forces Armées Royales, was officially founded on May 14, 1956. The name Dlimi is as infamous as that of the army he served. Both are characterized by arbitrariness, corruption, abuse of power and violence. The regime and the army are still in power, Ahmed Dlimi is not. His career ended as it had turned out with violence and scandals.

At the time Dlimi’s career took off, the armed forces consisted largely of soldiers who had served in the French and Spanish colonial armies. Well-known senior officers of this army were Generals Kettani Ben Hamou (1910 – 1965) and Mohamed Ben Mizzian Al Kassem (1897 – 1975). Their careers began in the colonial armies and they were the first Moroccans to be promoted to the rank of general.

The first achievements of this army were the bloody and violent repression of popular protests both in their own country and in Algeria. Notorious is the suppression of popular resistance in the Rif in 1958 and 1959. The rulers and the army did not hesitate to use poison gas and napalm against unarmed civilians. In 1963 it fought and lost a border dispute with neighboring Algeria, the so-called Sand War. And in 1975, Morocco became involved in the protracted Western Sahara War.

The same army was deployed against protesters in the Rif in 1984, who peacefully demonstrated against increases in the price of important foodstuffs. Many people were killed and injured.

In 1972, after the second military coup attempt, Hassan II convened his chief army officers and delivered the following message: “If I may give you good advice, I advise you to step back from political affairs and instead focus on making money”. In doing so, he introduced corruption within the military and at the same time implemented a reorganization in which the functions of defense secretary and chief of staff of the armed forces were abolished. Officer Ahmed Dlimi attended this meeting.

Left King Hassan II, right Colonel Ahmed Dlimi, Paris 1963. Photo: Getty Images

Disappearance of Ben Barka

Ahmed Dlimi was born in 1931 in Sidi Kacem, to a family descended from the Oulad Dlim clan from Western Sahara. These clan members have served in the armies of the Moroccan sultans since time immemorial. Lahcen Dlimi’s father was a translator for the French occupier at the time of the protectorate.

Dlimi studied at the French officer school Dar el Beida in Meknes and became a lieutenant there in 1953. In 1958, after an internship in France, he married the daughter of the Moroccan Minister of the Interior and friend of King Mohamed V, Messaoud Chiguer.

After her father was released from his ministerial post, he divorced her. Dlimi remarried the same year to Zahra Bouselham, a daughter of a family close to the Oufkirs.

In his position as an army officer he was involved in the violent crackdown on the popular protest in the Rif in late 1958 and early 1959. He then worked briefly for military intelligence. He was then appointed head of CAB-1, the Moroccan internal secret service, predecessor of the current DGST Direction Général de Surveillance du Territoire.

And as deputy police director, Dlimi was taken into custody by French authorities for involvement in the disappearance of Ben Barka on October 29, 1965 in Paris. Mehdi Ben Barka was leader of the opposition and opponent of King Hassan II. Dlimi was acquitted after remand in the Parisian prison of La Santé. Shortly afterwards, in 1967, Hassan II Dlimi was promoted to the rank of colonel.

Coup d’état

Colonel Dlimi was appointed General Director of the Police in 1970, headed by the Minister of the Interior, General Oufkir. Subsequently, Dlimi was appointed director of Royal Adjutants. Thus the colonel worked his way up to become an important security adviser to Hassan II.

Dlimi’s name was on the death list of the coup plotters during the failed coup of July 10, 1971 in Skhirat. He narrowly escaped death by hiding with a small entourage of Hassan II and escaping the coup plotters.

During the second coup d’état on August 16, 1972, he and King Hassan II were on board the plane that was shot at by fighter jets of the Moroccan army. After the emergency landing at Rabat-Sale airport, he managed to get Hassan II and himself to safety by quickly leaving the plane with a weapon at the ready. Dlimi wanted to liquidate the commander of the Moroccan Air Force, Colonel Hassan Lyoussi, immediately. Hassan II prevented him from doing so because he wanted to get the plans for this coup out of Colonel Lyoussi.

Dlimi saw an opportunity to retaliate against the coup plotters by acting as a magistrate of the military court during the trial of Oufkir and his fellow coup plotters.

Counterintelligence Service

Ahmed Dlimi. Photo: Maroc Hebdo

His role during and after the two failed coups helped Dlimi increase his influence and power. After all, there were few confidants left of Hassan II. The people around Oufkir had been executed or jailed. Dlimi was present at the liquidation of Oufkir in Hassan II’s palace in Skhirat. Dlimi is said to have fired at Oufkir together with General Hafid Alalui, after which King Hassan II gave him the final shot.

Colonel Dlimi reformed the intelligence services and in 1973 created the current counterintelligence & foreign security service, the DGED (Direction Générale des Etudes et de la Documentation), over which he was put in charge.

After two coup attempts, Hassan II froze the promotion of his army officers. Dlimi was exempted from this and was promoted to general, in 1975 Dlimi was appointed Commander of the Southern Military Zone, of the so-called “Sahara Army,” the army that waged war against Polisario. Thus Dlimi was put in charge of about 75% of the Moroccan army.

Rich General

Dlimi was one of the richest businessmen in Morocco and owned many businesses. In business he followed the example of the CIA: setting up companies to provide the organization with additional and invisible income. Dlimi did it that way too, and he personally benefited from the profits of the businesses he set up.

He was the first to open an Adidas outlet in Morocco. He registered this company under the name of an ex-army officer and politician, Colonel Abdellah Kadiri (1937 – 2019). The latter said in an interview: “Dlimi told me that in Hassan II’s Morocco you are never sure of anything, today I am a general and what I am tomorrow I do not know. This company (Adidas) is insurance for my children”.

Traffic accident or liquidation?

Funeral of General Ahmed Dlimi on January 27, 1983 in Rabat, Morocco. Photo: Getty Images

Moroccan state media reported Dlimi’s death on January 25, 1983. His car would have collided head-on with a truck and he would not have survived this traffic accident. He was on his way home from a visit to the king in Marrakech. Marrakech residents say Dlimi’s car was said to have been hit by explosives.

No one has seen the remains, not even his family and relatives, because the coffin was immediately sealed.

The truck involved was later found, but there was no trace of the driver. The truck would have been stolen. This accident may be a coincidence, but such an accident raises questions for high-ranking victims and certainly a close associate of the king.

According to Ahmed Rami (1946), former adjutant of Oufkir, now living in Sweden and now a radical Muslim, General Dlimi was planning a coup against the king.

Hassan II had heard of this and ordered the general to be killed. The international media such as Le Monde, took over Rami’s story. Gilles Perrault, author of the book “A Friendly Head of State, Hassan II of Morocco, Absolute Monarch” (1990), also devoted a chapter on Dlimi and his death, including Rami’s version.

Sex photos as a motive for attack

A completely different version can be found in the book ‘Les officiers de Sa Majesté: Les Dérives des Généraux Marocains 1956–2006‘ (His Majesty’s officers: the instincts of the Moroccan generals 1956–2006) by Commander Mahjoub Tobji (1942), the former adjutant of Dlimi.

Left Ahmed Dlimi, middle Mahjoub Tobji. Photo: Internet

It says that General Dlimi had “ears and eyes” everywhere in Morocco as an intelligence officer, even in the palaces of Hassan II.

For example, Dlimi found out that Mohamed Médiouri (1938), head of the Département de Protection Royale (head of Hassan II bodyguards unit), had a sexual relationship with the king’s wife, Latifa Amahzoune (1946). Dlimi is said to have informed the king of this and thus signed his own death warrant. In Hassan II’s Morocco such knowledge was not allowed and certainly not passed on, not even to the king.

Dlimi would even have photos of Médiouri and Latifa in bed together. He is said to have blackmailed Médiouri, who then sought help from Dlimi’s rival General Housni Benslimane (1935), the commander of the Royal Gendarmerie. He and Dlimi were engaged in a power struggle. Colonel Benslimane saw an opportunity to neutralize his powerful rival. He would then have received the green light from the king to end the general’s life.

Hicham Dlimi, a cousin of the general, released another version in January 2011. In an interview with the French weekly Valeurs Actuelles, he said the following:

Dlimi was very subservient to the king and thus became his best confidant. A yes or no from the king could only be obtained through Dlimi.

Left Ahmed Dlimi right Driss Basri. Photo: Maroc Hebdo

On the day of his death, he was visiting a friend in Rabat. This friend is said to have warned Dlimi about the Minister of the Interior, Driss Basri (1938 – 2007). After his visit he went to his house in the villa district of Palmeraie in Marrakech, on arrival he was summoned by the king to the palace there.

The king would have reproached him there. Dlimi is said to have tried to refute these accusations and to make it clear to the king who spread these rumors and accusations, namely director of Hassan’s protocol general Hafid el Alaoui (1910 – 1989), Driss Basri, Ahmed Réda Guédira (1922 – 1995), (one adviser to the king) and Mohamed Médiouri.

After this interview, Dlimi returned home. A small truck would have blocked the way near his house. Dlimi is said to have driven an armored Mercedes with his driver, both heavily armed. When the driver of Dlimi tried to reverse that side of the road was blocked by an Audi. When the armored vehicle was fired from this car, this had no effect. Dlimi and his driver are said to have fired back and survived this first attack.

They failed to repulse the second attack by another group and Dlimi and his driver were killed. Dlimi’s body was placed under the truck and the driver’s body set on fire in the Mercedes. Dlimi’s gardener and the imam who washed his remains have been murdered. A friendly soldier who saw the remains before the coffin was sealed is said to have reported to the general’s nephew that his body was riddled with bullets.

One’s dead is another’s bread

Dlimi’s functions were later divided between the three soldiers: Colonel Major Abdelaziz Bennani (1935 – 2015) became Commander of the Southern Sector; Colonel Major Mohammed Cherkaoui (1922 – 2002) became Director of the Cabinet of the Royal Adjutants and Colonel Abdelhaq Kadiri (1934 – 2017) became Director General of the counterintelligence service DGED.

In various files on human rights violations in Morocco and in testimonials of victims, the name of General Dlimi is mentioned repeatedly. He is said to have personally tortured and assaulted the opponents of Hassan II, but it never came to a lawsuit, even his own death has not been investigated. General Dlimi’s family did not speak publicly about the cause of death, perhaps this is why they do not suffer from reprisals as was the case with the Oufkir family.

Source https://amazighinformatiecentrum.medium.com/is-de-marokkaanse-generaal-dlimi-slachtoffer-van-seksschandaal-664b668b4a50

Translation: Najat M.

Kettani Ben Hammou, from collaborator to CIA informant

Kettani Ben Hammou and Crown Prince Hassan. Casablanca, November 1956. Photo: Mohamed Moradji

Contrary to the refusal of many ordinary Moroccan and Riffian families to cooperate with the colonial occupier, a small Moroccan elite thought otherwise. For example, during the French and Spanish protectorates (1912 – 1956), ordinary families often refused to send their children to the colonial schools and prevented them from serving in the colonial army, although they were obliged to do so according to the Moroccan sultan Abd el Aziz ibn Hassan (1878 – 1943) and the European occupiers. They needed the North African people to fight their colonial wars.

A small and rich Moroccan elite saw the colonial system and schools as the way to a successful career for their children. They sent their children to European schools and universities or military academies. In this way, they and their children had access to political and military key positions, even after the departure of the occupying forces from Morocco. Kettani Ben Hammou was one of them.

Kettani Ben Hammou was born in Berrechid, near Casablanca, in 1910. He trained at the French military school Dar-El-Beida in Meknés. He joined the French army in 1923. He belonged to the Tabors, a unit composed entirely of Moroccans. With this unit, which he later took charge of, he took part in several military expeditions in Tunisia, Italy, France and Germany. Until he was wounded twice in 1944, and was decorated.

General Kettani Ben Hammou. Paris September 19, 1955, Copyright: Topfoto

General Kettani Ben Hammou was called up to work for the French Resident General in Morocco after the Second World War. He then continued his training at the l’École Supérieure de Guerre, a French academy for senior officers.

This Colonel Kettani ben Hammou was promoted to general in August 1954 in the French newspaper Le Monde. Thus Ben Hammou became the first Moroccan with the rank of general in the French army. This timing was important, because two years later France would ‘leave’ Morocco. From that moment on, Ben Hammou’s general stars were able to shine in ‘independent’ Morocco.

General Kettani Ben Hammou was part of the staff of the French occupying army in Germany. However, he remained loyal to the Sultan of Morocco, Mohamed Ben Youssef.

In November 1955, on his return from exile, King Mohammed V called him to Rabat to assist Crown Prince Hassan in the formation of the royal forces FAR.

In 1956, Ben Hammou was commander of the armed forces, and in this capacity Kettani represented the sultan at the surrender of the governor of Tafilalt Aâddi Oubihi who had rebelled against the Hizb Listiqlal (Party of Independence) in power in 1957.

Two years later, in 1959, a major popular uprising in the Rif, which began in 1958, was brutally and violently suppressed by the Royal Army of Crown Prince Hassan. It was up to a.o. General Kettani to oversee the further subjugation of the Riffians.

General Ben Hammou went to the Congo on behalf of the UN in the 1960s as an advisor to the Congolese Chief of Staff of Mobutu Sese Seko. John Batist Mlima Makoubi, member of the Union of Congolese Youth, accused Ben Hammou of helping Mobutu to power through the CIA. Furthermore, he allegedly enabled Congolese dictator to seize power by having the independent leader Patrice Lumumba assassinated and thus eliminated.

General Kettani in Congo, 1960s Photo: Internet

This accusation does not come across as strange given Ben Hammou’s statements in the newspaper Le Monde. During the war of liberation in Congo he made the following statement: ‘What this country (Congo red.) needs is a Lyautey’. General Lyautey was the head of the French army that conquered Morocco.

General Kettani Ben Hammou was also chief of the Military House of King Hassan II. He died of a cardiac arrest in 1965. The newspaper Le Monde reports in its issue of 14 April 1965 that Kettani suffered a heart attack during a ceremony of the religious feast Aïd El Kébri. He congratulates the king on behalf of the army and collapses. Despite the treatment he received immediately by the king’s doctors, the general died a few minutes later without regaining consciousness.

Sourece https://amazighinformatiecentrum.medium.com/van-marokkaanse-collaborateur-bij-de-fransen-naar-cia-agent-58cc58884f35

Translation: Najat M.

Increasing tensions between Morocco and Algeria?

Moroccan-Algerian border. Wikipedia

Both Algeria and Morocco were French colonies in the last century, so the French government established the borders between the two countries.
But after decolonization both countries contested this border. This resulted in an armed border conflict, also called the Sand War. This war, which took place in 1963, lasted more than 4 months, with a total of about 500 deaths. Since then, the relationship between the two countries has been very tense.
In addition, Algeria, Polisario, supports an independence movement in Western Sahara. It claims the former Spanish territory (Spanish Sahara) divided by Morocco and Mauritania. Morocco was engaged in an armed struggle with Polisario between 1975 and 1991. As of last weekend, this struggle flared up again. How big is the chance that Morocco and Algeria will fight a direct war with each other again?

In a series of video conversations the Algerian former military and politician Khaled Nezzar discusses the tense relationship between Morocco and Algeria.
The retired and high-ranking Khaled Nezzar (1939) served in the Algerian army between 1962 and 1993. He held various positions as commander of the Algerian troops stationed in Béchar-Tinduf, an area bordering Morocco. In this capacity he collaborated with Polisario. He had information about the Moroccan Army and other secret information at his disposal.
In 1990, Nezzar was appointed Minister of Defence and as such was a member of the Supreme Council of State that ruled Algeria between 1992 and 1994. In this capacity, he met King Hassan II and negotiated, among other things, the extradition of persons accused of terrorism by Algeria who had fled to Morocco.

General Khaled Nezzar in 1989 with the then Algerian president Chadli Bendjedid in Algiers. Photo: AFP

A remarkable fact that General Nezzar reported in an interview with Algerian TV channel Echorouk News is; that he personally assured the King of Morocco that as long as the army is in power in Algeria, the Moroccan monarchy has nothing to fear from neighbouring Algeria.
This means that two dictatorial regimes in Morocco and Algeria, which have no popular support, will not fight each other, because their common opponent is the people.
The general goes on to say that the Algerian rulers have never given the green light to destabilize the Moroccan regime, although Algeria has a ready-made plan to do so. According to General Nezzar, Morocco has only a small army, which severely limits the troops’ room for manoeuvre.

General Nezzar with Ahmed Osman brother-in-law of Hassan II. Photo GettyImages

In other words: Morocco, with its more than 200,000 soldiers, excluding reservists, cannot fight three potential wars at the same time (Spain in the North, Algeria in the East and Polisario in the South). And if Algeria’s aim was to destabilize the monarchy in Morocco, there was ample opportunity to do so during the coup attempts against Hassan II in 1971, 1972 and the great uprisings in Morocco in 1963 and 1984. However, Algeria never decided to do so and there are no concrete signs that the military junta in Algeria wanted to overthrow the Moroccan regime or play an important role in it.


Traslation: Najat M.

The attack on the plane of the king of Morocco, 1972 (17 and last part)

On 10 July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat.  The following year, air force officers committed a new coup.  This time King Hassan II’s plane, on its return from France, was attacked in the air by fighter jets.

Amazigh Information Centre has reconstructed this historic event using a series of 17 articles.  We have done this on the basis of testimonies from people who experienced this event, such as fighter pilot Salah Hachad, and on the basis of books by critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith and various newspaper articles.

King Hassan II made good use of the failed attack on him and used it against the soldiers he wanted to eliminate.  For example, in addition to imprisoning officers he did not trust, he retired a number of senior officers after the failed attack on Boeing 727.  The posts of Minister of Defence and Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces were abolished in 1972.

Hassan II also used the failed coup against his subjects who are more than half illiterate and do not understand the ‘state languages’ of Morocco (Arabic and French).  Thus, through radio and television, he let it be known that as a person he possesses extraordinary powers and that God is on his side and therefore survived this second armed attack.  Because he is said to be a saint and a descendant of the prophet Mohamed.  He also sent his shelled Boeing 727 to Mecca for pilgrimage and after his return he personally received the Hadj Boeing.

Hassan II distinguishes his Boeing 727

The human factor played a role in the king’s escape from death.  The captain of King Hassan’s Boeing 727, his private pilot Major Mohamed Kabbaj was a fighter pilot and colleague of the attacking fighter pilots, so he received the same training, had technical knowledge of the F-5 fighters and he knew the qualities of the pilots and all this together enabled him to make a good analysis of the situation and to take the right action when the F-5 fired the first shots at the Boeing 727.

Mohamed Kabbaj

Kabbaj reportedly resigned from the Moroccan Air Force to work as a civilian pilot for the Moroccan national airline Royal Air Maroc RAM before Hassan II appointed him as his private pilot.  In the Moroccan Air Force he was listed as a good fighter pilot.

Other factors that contributed to a safe landing of the Royal Boeing: the altitude of the 727 and the distance to the airfield, if the airfield was further away there is a good chance that the Boeing 727 would not have made it to the runway.  When the Boeing was attacked by F-5’s it was 15 minutes away from the runway of Rabat-Sale airport.  General Oufkir had not given Colonel Amekrane space to deploy more armed fighters or to involve more people in the putsch.  At the very last moment the technicians were ordered to arm the three F-5 fighters.  The pilots did not have a briefing on the day of the coup about an air raid.

Coups don’t always succeed, even if they are carried out by powerful people in large organisations such as the KGB intelligence service.  In 1991, an attempted coup in the former Soviet Union, despite participation in this coup of among others the head of the KGB, Vladimir Kruchkov, and marshal Dmitry Timofeyevich Yazo failed.

But the coup d’état may benefit those in power, such as the attempted coup in Turkey in 2016.  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan uses this coup as an excuse to deal with his opponents.  And he has opened a manhunt for the Gülenists.  Many possible supporters of the Gülen movement have been fired or arrested.

The coups in neighbouring Morocco, Algeria, did not bring any positive change to the country after colonel Houari Boumédienne carried out a coup in 1965.  The same applies to Colonel Moammar al-Qadhafi of Libya, Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, General Hafiz al-Assad of Syria and Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16


– American pilots underwind problems with the F-5 guns in the Vietnam War. Tijdschrift Militairespectator (Dutch)


– Oufkir, un destin marocain, 1999, Stephen Smith (French)

– Notre ami le roi (1990, Gallimard; 1992, Folio) – A friendly head of state, Hassan II of Morocco, absolute monarch (French/Dutch)

– Kabazal – Les Emmurés de Tazmamart: Mémoires de Salah et Aïda Hachad, 2004, Abdelhak Serhane (French)

– Aboubakr Jamai, le Journal, 2001 Les dessous des cartes du putsch de 1972 (French)

– European Convention on Human Rights Year: 1973, Council of Europe/Conseil de L’Europe (English)

– Historical Dictionary of Morocco, Thomas Kerlin Park, 1996 (English)

– Article about the 1972 coup, The New York Times, 1972 (English)


– Century Witness, Salah Hachad, Al Jazeera Arabic 2009 (Arabic)

– La Prisonniere, Malika Oufkir and Michele Fitoussi, 1999 (French, English, Dutch)

– Les jardins du roi: Oufkir, Hassan II et nous, Fatima Oufkir, 2000 (French/Dutch)

– European Court of Human Rights ruling in the Amekrane case (French)


– https://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonbotx/7412786568/in/photostream/

– Livre blanc sur les droits de l’homme au maroc, 1991(French)

– Officers of Sa Majesté: Les dérives des généraux marocains 1956-2006, 2006, (French)

– Eighteen years of solitude: the imprisonment of the Bourequat brothers in Tazmamart.  1994, Ali-Auguste Bourequat (Dutch)

– Nancy Gatewood Touil, wife of a Mbarek Touil (English)


The Moroccan Armed Forces 1956 – 2019 (1/6)

Moroccan Army soldiers parade during celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces. (AP File Photo) 2006

The Moroccan army, Forces Armées Royales, abbreviated as (FAR), was founded on 14th of May 1956. This was after the dissolution of the French protectorate in Morocco, which lasted from 1912 to 1956. When it was founded, the ‘new’ army consisted of 30,000 people: more than 14,000 people, including 200 officers, from the French army, 10,000 from the Spanish army and about 5,000 from the resistance movement Armée de Libération Nationale (ALN) (1).

The new officers of this army received accelerated training in the schools of the occupiers, Spain and France. The Stakeholders of the FAR were General Mohamed Mezian (1897-1975) who served in the Spanish army and Kettani Ben Hammou (1910 – 1965) who served in the French army: both officers reached the rank of general in the Spanish and French army respectively during the occupation of Morocco.

Moroccan soldiers in the French army have fought against compatriots and neighbors such as Algerians and also fought under French flag in Vietnam.

Most of the Riffians in the occupying army have fought on the side of dictator Franco in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939. Before that they fought against their own Rif population in the Rif-war (1911-1927). They served mainly in the Spanish infantry units called the Regulares and the Spanish Foreign Legion La Legión Española.

The Moroccan armed forces consists of the army, the air force and the navy. The latter was founded in 1960. The gendarmerie and the Royal Guard are officially part of the army.

(1) ALN is a resistance movement that sought the decolonization of North Africa, it was founded in the Rif in 1954.

Source: Amazigh Informatie Centrum

Translated by: Najat M.

To be continued

The Rif rebellion of January 1984

[20–1–1984] A light armored vehicle patrols a street in Nador, northeastern Morocco, Friday, where mass protests and labor strikes against rising food prices were brutally suppressed, resulting in injuries and deaths among demonstrators [Photo courtesy of the UK  Socialist Worker Archive].

In the middle of the Cold War between the major superpowers at that time, the US and the USSR (1), and during the war in western Morocco between Polisario and Morocco, a revolt flared up in 1984 in all of Morocco.  The outbursts of protests were related to the poor economic situation. The cost of the war in Western Sahara had risen to around $ 3 million a day.  The external debt had risen to around $ 12 billion at the end of 1983, corresponding to 85% of the country’s GNP (2), while according to international statistics the GDP per capita was below $ 900 a year.  Around 20% of the population were unemployed.  Morocco had more than 20 million inhabitants in 1984.

On 19 September 1983, Morocco concluded the fourth stabilization agreement with the IMF (3) since 1978, under which it undertook to reduce subsidies on food items.  On the basis of this agreement, the IMF approved a stand-by credit of approximately $ 315 million for Morocco, but this was subsequently suspended because the Moroccan government had not applied the austerity measures sufficiently.

The “Club of Paris” (4) with 12 western industrialized countries granted Morocco a deferred payment on October 26 for an amount of $ 600 million in interest and loan repayment.  The amount was converted into a loan with a term of 8 years, the first four years of which would be free of repayment.  On November 3, the World Bank (5) and the 12 countries declared their willingness to grant new loans worth $ 535 million to Morocco, the share of the World Bank being $ 150.4 million.

At the beginning of January 1984, demonstrations against the price increases took place in Marrakech, Meknes, Safi and Oujda. According to press releases, serious riots had occurred in Marrakech from 8 to 10 January.  Army units from Western Sahara are said to have been deployed to restore order.

News service Reuters reported from Madrid on January 20 that violence had occurred a few days earlier in Al Hoceima and that police and military constellations were involved around and in high schools in the capital Rabat after riots on January 19 in which mostly students were victims.

In the northeastern city of Nador, in particular, there were alleged clashes between protesting students and the police on 19 January, in which 2 students were killed and more than 50 injured.  The riots spread to Al Hoceima, Tetouan and Ksar Al Kebir and lasted until January 21.  The Moroccan authorities and media initially did not provide any information.  Various foreign journalists in Tetouan were deported and journalists who wanted to visit Melilla and Ceuta Morocco from the Spanish enclaves were not admitted.

The regime sent to Nador tanks and soldiers from the cities of Taza and Oujda as reinforcements.  The streets of Nador were besieged and the inhabitants could not leave their house for days without running the risk of being arrested or executed at their doorstep.  During these days, students and unsuspecting citizens of Nador were arrested on the street, abused and imprisoned or executed for years and taken to a mass grave.  An eyewitness said that one of the people arrested by two soldiers was being lifted and dropped him on his back on a piece of rock.  A short time later he died.

Eyewitnesses reported that in the port city of Al Hoceima the head of a cafe visitor was pierced by a bullet.  His brain is shattered on the wall.  Those present got the shock of their lives and suffered a trauma.

According to a FAZ report (6) from Madrid on 22 January, more than 150 people were killed in the riots suppressed by the police and the army, mainly because of soldiers who would have shot at the demonstrators with machine guns.  That same evening, King Hassan II delivered a radio and television speech to the nation – the first official mention of the riots – in which he announced the cancellation of the price increases.  He came to his decision after the capitalization he ordered had shown that 40% of the Moroccan population lived below the poverty line, according to the World Bank this was even 42%.

On 24 January 1984, when peace seemed to have returned to Morocco, 2 Moroccan organizations in France (the AMF and ATMF (7)) reported that more than 400 people had died in the riots.  Diplomatic circles then reported about 60 deaths.  MAP published the first official figures on January 25: 29 dead and 114 wounded (including 26 members of the security forces).

On January 28, there were about 100 detainees among USFP members (8), mainly from the party’s youth movement.  On 1 February, Spanish newspapers reported that more than 500 arrests had been made in Nador and the surrounding area, especially among students.  They are said to have been taken to the Kenitra military prison to be tried by military tribunals.  The Observer (12/2/1984) estimated the total number of detainees at 5,000.

The heaviest punishments were pronounced by the tribunal in Nador in trials behind closed doors.  On February 29, the same Observer reported that after pronouncing 175 new judgments (up to a maximum of 5 years in prison), the number of people convicted of the riots had risen to 700.  At the beginning of March, the PPS (9) announced that 66 students, including 2 members of the PPS and three of the USFP, from Agadir had been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 6 months to 2 years.

Le Monde reported on March 16 that, according to the authorities, around 1,800 people were imprisoned for riots, while the opposition spoke of 1,550 prisoners.  On 18 April MAP (10) reported that the majority of 1,800 detainees in 13 different cities had since been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 2 months to 10 years and to fines of 200 to 20,000 Dirhams.  At the same time, MAP announced that the Oujda Tribunal had sentenced one of the defendants to 15 years in prison, the most difficult sentence up to that point.

Le Monde of 30 May wrote that approximately 1,000 of the approximately 1,500 arrested had since been sentenced.

On April 28, 2008 a mass grave was discovered “by accident” near the Tawima military barracks just outside Nador.  There were 16 bodies in the mass grave, which at the time were victims of the Moroccan regime.  The bodies were transferred to the Al Hassani hospital in Nador for DNA testing.  It is unclear whether these are victims of the student demonstration in 1984 or of the Riffin rebellion during the years 1956-1959.  There would be several mass graves from both years.

After the appointment of the current King Mohamed VI in 1999, the so-called Reconciliation Commission was established the Instance Équité et Réconciliation (IER), with the aim of reconciling the regime and the Moroccan people for the crimes committed by the state during the period  1956–1999.

This commission was set up with a Royal Decree of Mohamed VI to send a signal to the people that he “distances himself” from state crimes under the reign of his grandfather, Mohamed V and his father Hassan II.  The new monarch wants to start with a clean slate.

The committee has issued a final report containing the recommendation to respect human rights.

The treatment of the more than 500 detainees of the Riffine People’s Movement in 2017 proves that nothing has changed in Morocco.  Torture, threatening with rape are the usual practices at the Moroccan police stations.  King Mohamed VI praised his policemen in his 2017 speech after the people had hoped for the prisoners’ grace and investigation after the gross violation of human rights.

Most of the article has been copied from this website: http://www.ethesis.net/marokko/marokko_deel_I_hfst_5_6.htm

Information on the website has also been used: www.amazigh.nl

(1) USSR Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Federation of Republics during the Communist period of Russia between 1922 and 1991, which was in ideological and power struggle with the USA at world level.
(2) GNP gross national product, The total value added of all goods and services in a given period, usually one year.
(3) IMF The International Monetary Fund, A UN organization for international monetary cooperation, financial crisis relief and credit for states with payment problems.
(4) The Paris Club, an international informal group of countries that mediates between lenders and countries that have little or no ability to repay loans.
(5) World Bank, An international financing institution providing loans, credits, guarantees and technical assistance to developing countries and countries in transition.
(6) FAZ De Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a national German newspaper.
(7) ATMF Association des Travailleurs Maghrébins de France, Association of Moroccan Workers in France.
(8) MAP Maghreb Arab Press, Moroccan State Press Agency.
(9) USFP Union Socialiste des Forces Populaires, Moroccan socialist party.
(10) PPS Parti du Progrès et du Socialisme, Moroccan socialist party.

Translated by: Najat M.


The attack on the plane of the king of Morocco 1972 (part 16)

Mohamed Amekrane together with his wife Malika Amekrane

On 10 July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat. The following year, air force officers committed a new coup, this time King Hassan II’s plane, on its return from France, was attacked in the air by fighter jets.

In the coming period, the Amazigh Information Centre will reconstruct this historic event with short articles. We will do this on the basis of testimonies from persons who 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 family of Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Amekrane
The widow of lt Colonel Mohamed Amekrane, Malika Amekrane (1939), left Morocco on 17 August 1972. Together with her two minor children, she went to live at a secret address in Germany for security reasons.
She filed a lawsuit against the English authorities. Her husband had applied for asylum in the English colony of Gibraltar, but within a day he was extradited to Morocco where he was sentenced to death. He was executed in January 1973. Mrs Amekrane was assisted by Mr Klaus Seelig, who is also a relative of hers.


Before the Colonel was executed, his wife wrote a letter to the English government immediately after his extradition to Morocco. The British ambassador in Bonn Nicholas Hendersen answered her with a telegram on 20 December 1972 in which he wrote that the English government had extradited lt Colonel Mohamed Amekrane to Morocco on condition that he would not be tortured or executed. The British ambassador also writes that his government has asked for guarantees from the Moroccan government.
At the time of these events lieutenant-colonel Amekrane had been seriously ill for a year. He suffered from a complicated kidney infection which, after treatment with cortisone, had affected his muscles and his joints in such a way that he could hardly move when he was extradited to Morocco. Even an officer on duty without medical training should have noticed that Amekrane could not walk normally.

After the sentence of death against Amekrane, his wife asked the English queen for mediation, the request remained unanswered, receipt was not even confirmed. Amekrane’s widow then brought an action against the United Kingdom before the European Court of Human Rights. Subsequently, the British government decided to pay damages “without admitting that Great Britain has violated the convention”. In exchange for an amount of £37,500, Mrs Amekrane waived further legal action.

Left: Rachid Amekrane

Her son Rachid Amekrane (1964) wanted to become a pilot, just like his father, he says to the German local newspaper Der Bremer Tageszeitung. But nothing came of it. His next dream job was a veterinarian. When that didn’t work, he turned to technology and graduated as an aerospace engineer. Since 1997 he has been freight manager at Astrium, a subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).
Rachid Amekrane received the Förderkreis medal for his voluntary work with students of the so-called Summer Schools of European Universities at the 40th Annual Meeting of the International Space Association Hermann Oberth / Wernher von Braun in Dresden.

Right: Rachid Amekran

This article will be continued.


Translated by: Najat M.

The attack on the aircraft of the King of Morocco 1972 (part 15)

Omar el Khattabi, documentary by NPS, Abdel Krim: legend or freedom fighter? 1999

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.

Mohamed ben Abdelkrim Khattabi in La Réunion

Torture of Omar el Khattabi
Omar el Khattabi was born in 1926 on board the boat that took the whole family of Abdelkrim el Khattabi to the exile on the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, almost nine thousand kilometres away from the Rif. Omar is a son of Abdeslam el Khattabi, uncle of the resistance hero Mohamed ben Abdelkrim Khattabi who founded the first Rif Republic in the 1920s. He was exiled after Spain, France and Morocco won the war against the Rif Republic. A battle in which the Rif was bombed on a large scale with poison gas.

Omar el Khattabi attended secondary school in La Réunion together with the lawyer, activist and anti-colonialist Jacques Vergès and Raymond Barre, who will become Prime Minister of France and with whom he has remained friends. Omar el Khattabi completed his medical studies in Switzerland and returned to Morocco in the early 1960s to settle there for good. He stayed in the city of Kenitra where he worked as a doctor, first in a state hospital, later he opened a private clinic where he met the Riffian officers Mohamed Amekrane and Louafi Kouera, with whom he became friends.

The Moroccan media claim that Omar el Khattabi would be appointed president, if the 1972 coup succeeded. An agreement would have been made with the Moroccan socialist party USFP to clear the way for a republic in Morocco after the coup of general Oufkir. However, there is no evidence to support this assertion, nor is there any credible testimony.

After the execution of his friends Amekrane and Kouera in January 1973, Omar el Khattabi financially supported Amekran’s widow and her children, who fled to the Federal Republic of Germany, through his friend ‘engineer Temsamani’ who acted as an intermediary. Lieutenant-Colonel Amekrane’s family received a monthly amount of money from the Riffians.

In May 1973 Omar el Khattabi was arrested together with his friend the ‘engineer Temsamani’ by the Moroccan police in Tiṭṭawin (Tetouan) on charges of attempting to blow up a number of locations. At the police station Derb Moulay Chrif in Casablanca, known as the secret detention centre, Omar Khattabi was physically and mentally tortured, he was hanged for more than three weeks, until he fell on his back. He broke his spine and hip. In 1974 he was released and placed under house arrest for a year, losing a lot of weight and being unable to walk for a while. He never recovered and will continue to suffer for the rest of his life.

In 1996, he founded the Abdelkrim el Khattabi Foundation for Studies, Research and Documentation: this organisation was never recognised by the Moroccan authorities. Omar el Khattabi died of an illness in 2006.

This article will be continued.
Translated by: Najat M.

The attack on the aircraft of the King of Morocco 1972 (part 14)

Last picture of Hassan II (left) in public together with the president of France Jacques Chirac. Paris 14 July 1999

In 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 do this 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.

International pressure on sick king
The changes in world politics and the state of health of Hassan II played a role in the closure of Tazmamart.
The year 1989 saw the fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Soviet Union, with the prospect of the end of the Cold War, which means that the Moroccan regime is no longer able to respond to the conflicting interests of the superpowers: the US and the Soviet Union. 

The book Notre Ami Le Roi (Our Friend the King) by Gilles Perrault

In 1990 the book Notre Ami Le Roi (Our Friend the King) was published by the author Gilles Perrault, who denounces the large-scale human rights violations in Morocco and devotes an entire chapter to Tazmamart entitled: The living dead of Tazmamart.

International human rights organisations bring Tazmamart to the fore, Danielle Mitterrand, the wife of former French President François Mitterrand, chairman of the France Libertés Foundation – the Danielle-Mitterrand Foundation has pleaded with Hassan II for the release of political prisoners in Morocco.

At the beginning of the 1990s, doctors announced to Hassan II that he was suffering from an incurable disease and this was one of the reasons for him to revise his political policy so that his son, the current King Mohamed VI, could follow him without interruption when he dies. In this way he pardoned all his opponents.

More than half of the prisoners dead
More than half of the prisoners of Tazmamart died in the dungeon and were buried in the courtyard without any religious Ritual, their remains were sprinkled with a chemical substance so that no traces remain. The survivors were taken to the Ahermoumou school for cadets in 1991 to have them treated and to erase the visible traces of Tazmamart on their bodies with food and medication.

The prisoners sentenced to 20 years in prison have been returned to the prison from which they were abducted 18 years ago, the Kenitra prison. To add to the suffering, the prison director reads to them the pardon of Hassan II.

Royal grace and threat
Other prisoners sentenced to less than 20 years have served much longer than their sentences, some of them have died in Tazmamart. This explains Colonel Ahmed Dlimi’s words on the day of the Kenitra court ruling: “There is no difference between three years and twenty years in prison, it is all the same“. The trial was just a show trial, the plan for the regime’s revenge on the prisoners.

The executioner of Tazmamart, Colonel Bouchaib Feddoul, warns the survivors on their release in a threatening tone: “Forget everything you saw there [Tazmamart]! We will give you proof of identity, but if you ever reveal anything, we will make you disappear forever“.

Ahmed Marzouki

Arrest after release
Army officer Ahmed Marzouki was arrested, threatened and intimidated again after his release from Tazmamart after the intelligence service found out that he wanted to publish a book together with a French writer. According to Marzouki, a university lecturer, who works as a supporter for the French writer, has reported him to the Moroccan secret service.
Marzouki was attacked by two people in Brussels in 2010. They beat up Marzouki and insulted him in Arabic. He was in Belgium to give a lecture on the theme of ‘reconciliation’ and human rights in Morocco.
Marzouki is the author of the French bestseller ‘Tazmamart, cellule 10’. 

This article will be continued

Translated by: Najat M.

The attack on the aircraft of the King of Morocco 1972 (part 13)


In 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 do this 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.

Kidnapping from prison to the hell of Tazmamart
On 7 August 1973, the military prisoners in the Kenitra prison were handcuffed and blindfolded and put into trucks. They were taken to Kenitra’s military airfield where they were thrown into planes. The first feeling the prisoners get is that they will be thrown into the sea, because they have heard stories about opponents of the regime who have been dumped into the sea. After about an hour and a half flight the planes land in the city of Imetgheren (Errachidia) in the desert. Then they were thrown into trucks again and then taken to a large building surrounded by high walls with watchtowers. They are locked in individual cells. The building contains two separate buildings, each with 29 cells, a total of 58.

Tazmamart, secret prison
Tazmamart is a secret prison in southeastern Morocco in the Atlas Mountains. It is located near the city of Er-Rich, between Errachida and Midelt. Tazmamart was built near a former French ammunition depot. For many years the Moroccan authorities have denied the existence of Tazmamart. Its existence has been widely denounced by human rights organisations and activists thanks to letters smuggled out of this prison.

Captain Salah Hachad and Lieutenant M’Barek Touil

Contact with the outside world
The captured pilot Salah Hachad managed to send a letter to his wife Aida through a guard at the end of the seventies. Hachad asked his fellow prisoner lieutenant M’Barek Touil to write a letter to his American wife asking him to leave Morocco and return to the United States to inform American politicians of the appalling conditions of her husband’s imprisonment in Tazmamart.

Nancy Gatewood Touil

Return to the United States
Nancy Gatewood Touil, M’Barek Touil’s wife, left Morocco with her son Amine and returned to Iowa where she has family. She was not allowed to leave the country so she left clandestinely and started a new life in the US where she raised the issue of her husband’s detention conditions in Morocco with American politicians. The American State Department was informed and the Moroccan regime was put under pressure by the US.

This led to results: in 1982 M’Barek Touil was medically treated in a mobile hospital that was brought to Tazmamart. He was brought to Rabat for questioning by the colonel of the gendarmerie, Bouchaïb Feddoul, who promised him good treatment. From 1983 onwards, M’Barek Touil received his rights as a prisoner, such as normal food, blankets and a mattress, and he was allowed to air outside. All the other prisoners are held in concrete isolation cells without light, no daylight or artificial light, without a bed, without any care, with hardly any food, drinks, clothes and hermetically separated from the outside world.

Salah and Aïda Hachad

Daughter of Tazmamart prisoner speaks to the king
Salah Hachad’s wife and the other prisoners feel contempt and pain when they find out that M’Barek Touil has obtained his rights because he is married to an American woman. Some prisoners who had American girlfriends felt sorry that they didn’t marry them, as in the case of Lieutenant Mohamed Zemmouri had American girlfriend but didn’t marry her. Aïda Hachad, Salah Hachad’s wife, decided to tell her story to the king in person.

King Hassan II loved to play golf and had a large golf course built at Rabat: the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam. Aïda received a tip that the best opportunity to meet the king is when he is playing golf. She went there in 1986 with her 15-year-old daughter Houda. Aïda was able to come to the golf course because she had blue eyes and looks like a European tourist, mother and daughter spoke French to each other and the guards thought they were tourists who wanted to see the king play golf. When the king had finished playing golf, Houda went running towards him, the guards chased her to stop her, the king said they could let her. Houda gave Hassan II a letter and told him that she is the daughter of Captain Salah Hachad who is imprisoned in Tazmamart and that his family knows nothing about him.

Houda Hachad

Houda Hachad: “I am the daughter of Salah Hachad, an officer convicted of the 1972 coup. I hope Your Majesty will pardon him. I surprised him [Hassan II] with my letter and my action. He jumped up when he heard the word Tazmamart, he thought I was coming for a pitiful problem or social support. I realized that he knew of the existence of Tazmamart when he turned to one of his companions and asked him: are there still living in Tazmamart? He asked me to stop crying and said that he could not speak to me in front of his guests, he asked me: go with these people, they will take you to the palace, so that we can talk at ease. They took me to a small room with a table and two chairs. I was questioned there by detectives. Hassan II did not get there, he promised something to a child, and he did not keep his promise. He didn’t learn to make a promise only if you can keep it. I want to tell you, my mother, that you are not alone and tell you, my father, that you are not the only victim of Tazmamart, we are all victims of Tazmamart. The whole Moroccan people are victims of Tazmamart”.

This article is to continued

Source: https://medium.com/@AmazighInformatieCentrum/de-aanslag-op-het-vliegtuig-van-de-koning-van-marokko-1972-deel-13-6d1643933525

Translated by: Najat M.

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