ALGIERS, Algeria

Lt. Gen. Said Chengriha has been officially appointed as Algeria’s military chief, the country’s Defense Ministry announced on Friday.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune issued a decree notifying the appointment, a day after promoting the military commander to the rank of lieutenant general and announcing other changes within the army, the ministry said in a statement.

Chengriha, 75, became the interim chief of staff last December after the death of his predecessor Lt. Gen. Ahmed Gaid Salah.

He has held important positions in the Algerian army over the course of his career, including commander of the land forces.

He also participated in the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973.

Observers believe that President Tebboune is restructuring the Algerian military to prevent any potential intervention in the country’s political affairs.

The Algerian army led the transitional period following the resignation of the country’s longest-serving ruler President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was forced from office after 20 years in 2019 amid widespread protests.

* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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