When the Algerians want to talk about the political system in their country and recall its symbols, some of whom continue to hold positions to this day, shorten themselves to enumerate names and titles and say “Oujda Group.”
The Oujda group is the name chosen by the Algerians for a number of high-ranking officials who came to Morocco in the 1950s, specifically to the eastern city of Oujda, to settle away from the French military machine that had been killing the country since 1830.
When Algeria gained its independence in 1962, the leaders of the revolution of yesterday turned to the leaders of that era and beyond and occupied all parts of the state and political and military positions.
Some historical writings indicate that Algerians’ asylum in Morocco was not really the 1950s, nor did they begin with the leaders of the Algerian liberation movement, but rather from the very beginning when France announced its fleet to Algeria.
“The Algerian immigrants who emigrated from their homes before and after the French campaign have completely melted into the local social and humanitarian fabric in the crucible of brotherly values,” says Bader al-Maqri, an academic researcher at the University of Muhammad I.
House of Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s family in the neighbourhood of Achaqfan (Al Jazeera)
It was not only ordinary citizens, but also the elite that would occupy a lofty position in the political and intellectual pyramid in contemporary Morocco, including the families of the Sinaras, Al-Maqri, Al-Banjibriet, Al-Banmansour, Al-Asman, Al-Mashrafi, and Al-Broukesh.
In his speech to Al Jazeera Net, the Moroccan researcher in this context highlights the great role played by the scholars of the city of Oujda in supporting the project of the Association of Algerian Muslim Scholars since it was founded by Sheikh Abdelhamid Ben Badis in 1931.
This was evident in their material support for Al-Basayir newspaper when it was published in 1935. The scholars of Jeddah had a great role in the torsion of Sheikh Mohammed Al-Bashir Al-Ibrahimi to establish the Dar Al-Hadeeth in Tlemcen (western Algeria) in 1937.
Six months after Morocco gained independence in 1955, the Algerian National Liberation Army (IAN) was established. Since its establishment, Oujda has been the backbone of the army to the borders of Algeria’s independence.
In the same year that the Algerian Liberation Army was founded (1956), an Algerian student was expelled from his studies at the University of Algiers. This was an important turning point in the movement of members of the national movement abroad, through solidarity initiatives with this student.
Mohammed Harfi, a Moroccan trade unionist living in Oujda who was then an independent youth, remembers that period.
After the outbreak of protests in Algeria, the independent youth took the lead in coordination with the Association of Algerian Students residing in Boujdeh, whose members were Algeria’s current president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was born in 1937 in the same city, to the Algerian university, .
Bouteflika did not appear as an active name in the Liberation Army. He was, according to a craftsman, an ordinary person who continued his studies with the elite in the secondary school of Omar Ibn Abdel Aziz, the secondary school that used to embrace the city’s dignitaries.
At one point, Bouteflika disappeared for quite a while, and craftsmen and trade unionists later learned that Bouteflika had held meetings with the second president of independent Algeria, Houari Boumediene – his real name, Mohammed Ibrahim Boukhrouba – in a house called Al Boussif’s house.
Boumedienne took him to a barracks reserved for the Liberation Army in the ci