DjilaliBounaama
Born April 16, 1926 in douar Beni Hendel (Ouarsenis), killed in Blida on August 8, 1961 in the explosion of the PC of wilaya 4. Former member of the OS, CGT trade unionist in the Bou Caïd mines, leader of the 1951 strikes ; minor in Belgium, returning to Algeria in 1954, local executive of the MTLD; after being imprisoned, joined the maquis in 1955; participating in the talks in Melun (France) in June 1960 with General De Gaulle’s project managers; commander of wilaya 4 from July 1960 to August 1961.

Son of a grocer in a difficult situation, Djilali Bounaama did not complete his primary studies at Molière, which became after independence in his honor: Bordj Bounaama. Djilali Bounaama worked very young at the Bou Caïd zinc mine near Orléansville (Chlef). He enlisted in the French army in North Africa in 1944, which carried out the campaigns in Italy, France and Germany; he comes back sergeant and returns to the thin Bou Caïd. Active trade unionist at the CGT and member of the PPA-MTLD, he also belongs to the OS.

In 1951, he was the organizer of the Bou Caïd miners’ strike which lasted 4 months; in 1952, he became responsible for the local section of the MTLD. Wanted since the dismantling of the OS, he went to Belgium where he worked in the Borinage coal mines. In July 1954, he attended the Messalist Congress of Hornu in Belgium. Returning to Algeria, he was arrested on November 6, 1954 and imprisoned in the prison of Orléansville then in Barberousse (Serkadji) in Algiers.

On his release in November 1955, he immediately joined the ALN and ensured the establishment of the maquis in the Ouarsenis massif and in the Cheliff plain. After the Soummam congress, he was part of the council for zone 3 of wilaya 4; he became the politico-military leader of this zone at the end of 1957. Promoted to commander, member of the council of the wilaya at the end of 1958, Si Mohamed, by his nom de guerre, was the deputy of Colonel Si M’hamed, of his real name Ahmed Bouguerra. Also trained at the CGT and political head, Si M’hamed entrusts a large part of the administrative tasks to his deputy whom he holds in great friendship. Si Mohamed wrote for the wilaya, “the fidaï guide”. He is responsible for setting up the propaganda and information service (SPI) which disseminates the slogans to the cities. Mohamed Téguia, who later became a historian of the wilaya, took part in this secretarial and mimeo work.

After the crisis decisions taken at the inter-wilaya meeting of December 1958 denouncing the abandonment of the maquis by outside FLN officials (GPRA and General Staff, see notice A.Bouguerra*), on the death of Colonel Si M’hamed in May 1959, in the midst of both withdrawal under the blows of the Challe offensive and trials, torture and purges under the obsession of treason and reversals of guerrillas by the services of the French army ( bleuïte), the wilaya passes under the command of Commander Si Salah, although younger (32 years old) than Commander Si Mohamed (34 years old), but older in the maquis and previously promoted to command.

The new head of the Si Salah wilaya, Mohammed Zamoum, named after him, the son of a Kabyle teacher, is pushed by his deputy Captain Lakhdar (Lakhdar Bouchemaa from Cherchell), in the mistrust shared by all, to see the GPRA negotiate in the backs of the maquisards, with General De Gaulle. Also the wilaya council in which Si Mohamed participates, decides in January 1960 to respond to “the call for peace of the brave”, confirmed by the instructions of the French Head of State seeking contacts to short-circuit or counterbalance the GPRA. Si Mohamed, albeit dragging his feet, was present with Si Salah and Captain Lakhdar at the interview with General De Gaulle at the Elysee Palace on June 10, 1960, which led to the Melun talks at the end of the month. These remain in abeyance; in spite of all the operations of delay or search for a third interlocutor, including with Messali, De Gaulle will end up negotiating with the envoys of the GPRA made essential by the impasses of the war. The emissaries of wilaya 4 feel totally abandoned.

In wilaya 4, the immediate consequences are twofold. Expressing what was until then only his reluctance, Si Mohamed turns away from Si Salah and Captain Lakhdar. On July 14, 1960, he pronounced the dissolution of the wilaya committee and took command, executed Captain Lakhdar, eliminated Si Salahmis under arrest. This one is much later sent on Tunis for judgment; he will be killed in an ambush by the French army on July 20, 1961 in the south of Djurjura, as the journey was long. The takeover is approved by Commander Ahmed Bencherif, who arrived in the meantime, sent by the General Staff of Tunis who had understood nothing for a long time about what was happening in this wilaya. Commander Bencherif equally approves of massive revivals or settling scores, trials and purges.

Indeed, Si Mohamed has set up a Military Cooperation and Execution Committee which covers arrests and torture, organizes judgments and multiplies collective and individual eliminations. In Ouarsenis, it is Commander Hassan, Youssef Khatib, who leads the executions. Intervening in the management conflicts of wilaya 5 (Oranais), Si Mohamed proclaims himself “controller of the areas of wilaya 5” and supports the operations of his deputy, captain Tarik. For these participations in the purges which he disapproves of, Colonel Boumedienne at a meeting of the General Staff in Tunis and because this affects willaya 5, opposes the promotion to the rank of colonel of the one who will remain Commander Mohamed , quite unusual for a wilaya commander.

However, it was to support the FLN that the masses of Algiers, women in large numbers, burst into the streets of Algiers in December 1960. The demonstrations resumed in June-July, being harshly repressed on July 5, 1961. The French army is caught between the OAS and the punctual return of the FLN to the cities. It is on the outskirts of Blida that Si Mohamed installs the command of the wilaya. He was killed on August 8, 1961 in the explosion of the villa. Left for dead, Mohamed Teguia* will take time to come back to life, before devoting himself to writing with restraint, this story which has little to do with the heroic version given by El Moudjahid, the organ of the FLN, in August 1983 , crediting Si Mohamed with the demonstrations of the Algiers masses and erasing the slate of purges in wilaya 4 encroaching on wilaya 5 which had been that of Boumédienne.