CAIRO Ñ Algeria's leading insurgency group has dismissed its chief.
The London-based Al Hayat daily reported on Sunday that the Salafist
Brigade for Combat and Call has dismissed its leader, Hassan Hatab. The
newspaper said Hatab was fired as Salafist chief in a leadership meeting in
The Salafist leadership appointed Nabil Sahwari as the new chief during
its meeting at the end of August. Sahwari, 34, is also known as Abu Ibrahim
Mustafa and hails from the Batna province about 400 kilometers east of
Sahwari was the commander of the 5th district under the Armed Islamic
Group before the split that led to the emergence of the Salafists. A year
later, Sahwari was replaced as commander by Abdul Razik Al Bara.
A Salafist statement announced that Hatab resigned. But Algerian
military sources said Hatab was dismissed in a feud with Al Bara. Al Bara
was said to have masterminded the abduction of 32 European tourists in the
Sahara Desert in February and is believed to be in northern Mali.
This was the second time that Hatab has been dismissed from the Salafist
leadership since its inception in 1998, after the Salafist Brigade separated
from the Armed Islamic Group. The first time Hatab was toppled from
leadership was in 1999, when Abdul Majid Dishu, known as Abu Musab, replaced
Hatab was returned to leadership after Abu Musab was killed several
months later in a feud between Salafist elements. His assassin was never
The leadership also transferred at least one senior Salafist commander.
No further details were reported.