Ali Kafi, who led Algeria for two years after the 1992 military coup that aimed to stop Islamists from winning a national election, died Tuesday in Geneva at age 84.
His death, which followed an illness, was announced by the Algerian state news agency. Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika declared eight days of mourning in his honor.
Kafi led the High Committee of State from 1992 to 1994 during the opening years of Algeria’s bloody civil war with Islamic extremists. His rule followed the assassination of Mohammed Boudiaf, who was briefly president after generals forced Chadli Benjedid to resign.
The 1992 coup sparked a civil war with Islamic fighters that lasted more than a decade and cost 200,000 lives.
Born in 1928 in the eastern city of Constantine, Kafi was a leading member of the Algerian underground that fought for independence from France from 1954 to 1962, reaching the rank of colonel.
After Algeria became independent in 1962, he went on to become an ambassador to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq and Italy before retiring.
Kafi was brought out of retirement to help solve the crisis brought on by the cancelling of the second round of elections and the toppling of Benjedid. He was named part of the High Committee of State in January 1992.
With the assassination of Boudiaf, the newly named president, Kafi became the leader of the committee until Liamine Zeroual, a retired general, took power in 1994.
Kafi’s body will lie in state Wednesday at the Palace of the People in the capital of Algiers before being buried later that day in the Martyrs’ Square section of El-Alia cemetery near the capital.
Algerian post-coup leader Kafi dies in Geneva