Report: Algeria’s first president dies at 96

Apr 11, 2012, 4:50 PM

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) – Algeria’s state news agency says Ahmed Ben Bella, who served as Algeria’s first president, has died at age 96.

Ben Bella passed away Wednesday at the family home in Algiers, the capital, after being twice admitted to a hospital in the past month for discomfort, family members were quoted as saying.

The report did not give a cause for death.

The charismatic Ben Bella, a symbol of pan-Arabist ideology as well as the global anti-colonial movement, was president of Algeria from 1963 until he was overthrown in a military coup in 1965 by the head of his army, Gen. Houari Boumediene.

Ben Bella was under house arrest until 1980, and he went into self exile in Switzerland until returning to the country in 1997.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Report: Algeria’s first president dies at 96