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 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.
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.