In Algeria’s ‘deep state’ it is hard to pin down exactly where the power lies.
But much is thought to be held by the head of the secret services, Major General Mohamed ‘Toufik’ Mediène.
His placing of hardliner General Tartag at the head of the Direction de la Sécurité Intérieure in December is designed to send a message to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Tartag’s predecessor, Abdelkader Kherfi, is thought to have been sacked after three European aid workers were kidnapped in October 2011.
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