Algérie Poste | Philatélie


23 August 2020

Repatriation of Anti-Colonial Resistance Martyrs

Algeria: Repatriation of Anti-Colonial Resistance Martyrs, 23 August 2020. Image from Algérie Poste.

Technical Specifications:

Drawing: Sofiane Merakchi
Facial value: 25 AD
Dimensions: 43×29
Printer: Printing House of the Bank of Algeria
Printing process: Offset
Philatelic Document: A 1st Day Envelop of 10.00 AD with obliteration 1st Day illustrated.
1st Day Sale: Thursday and Saturday, on August 20th and 22th, 2020
In the 48 main post offices of the chief towns of each wilaya.
General Sale: Sunday, on August 23th, 2020. At all post offices.


After a long wait that lasted a hundred and seventy (170) years, the Algerian state has recovered the first part of the mortuary remains of 24 martyrs among the leaders of the popular resistance against the French occupation of Algeria, which were kept at the Natural History Museum in Paris, thanks to important efforts culminated in the announcement of the President of the Republic, Abdelmajid Tebboune, the repatriation of the mortuary remains of our brave martyrs in the country. , Friday, July 4, 2020, aboard a military aircraft escorted by a squadron of fighter jets of the Algerian Air Force, from France.

The remains of Algeria’s heroes were given an official welcome by the great officials of the State, headed by the President of the Republic, supreme leader of the armed forces, minister of national defense. They were buried in the martyrs’ square of the EL Alia cemetery in Algiers, after a final tribute was paid to them by the people, in a solemn atmosphere marked by feelings of pride, respect and reverence, on 05 July coinciding with the celebration of the fifty-eighth anniversary of independence.

Among the valiant national resistance fighters repatriated, who bathed the land of Algeria with their blood, we find the martyrs Mohamed Elamdjed Ben Abdelmalek better known by “Cherif Boubaghla”, and the commander of the Zâatchas revolt, Sheikh Ahmed Bouziane.

As for Mohamed Elamdjed Ben Abdelmalek, better known as “Cherif Boubaghla”. Coming from the western regions, he settled in Sour El Ghozlane in 1849. He first taught the Koran to the children, and at the same time cared for the sick. Known for his disapproval and total rejection of the French occupation, he did not fail to incite his compatriots to resist and fight it, thus attracting the attention of the colonial authorities in early 1851, through his assiduous activism, and an arrest warrant was issued against him accusing him of subversion and incitement to rebellion. He managed to escape and took refuge at Kalaat Beni Abbes, which he later left for the Melikech tribe on 24 Feb. 1851, making his rear base to face the occupying forces. He won his first victory on 02 March of the same year against the forces of Officer Beauprêtre, Governor of Beni Mansour.

The martyr intensified his attacks on villages submitted to the French authorities during the period from 24 March to 04 April, achieving impressive victories. Also, in order to extend resistance to different parts of the country, he instructed a group of messengers to travel to Medea, El Asnam, Miliana, and other regions to call for resistance to the French occupation.

Mohamed Elmdjed Ben Abdelmalek also led the resistance in Kabylia from August 1851, a resistance that spread after the valiant martyr Lala Fatma N’ Soumer joined him. He fell as a martyr on December 26, 1854, beheaded his head was exposed on a stake.

For his part, the leader of the Zâatcha revolt, Sheikh Ahmed Bouziane, began his resistance action in May 1849 when he wrote to several tribal leaders of the Zâatcha region of Biskra (south-east Algeria) to incite them to revolt.

Sheikh Bouziane made the oasis of Zâatcha, located near the town of Tolga which is about 40 KM from Biskra, the stronghold of the resistance to the French occupation. With the support of free men, he strengthened her and prepared to face the enemy. The oasis was first besieged on 16 July 1849, a siege that ended in failure thanks to the fierce resistance of the oasis and the arrival of reinforcements from the acrises, tribes and Zaouias.

The French recorded heavy losses in their ranks, and the governor of Biskra “Saint Germain” was killed at the Battle of Oued Braz at the Eastern Zab on 21 September 1849. This debacle provoked the ire of the French occupying forces, who dispatched the Governor of Constantine himself, Officer Herbillon, and sent with him about 4000 soldiers to crush the Zâatcha resistance.

The plan adopted by this officer, made of operations of extermination and methodical sabotage of the palm trees of the oasis, its houses and its inhabitants, on November 28, 1849, gave rise to an abhorrent and despicable massacre. The French cut about 10. 000 palm trees, killed about 1000 inhabitants of the oasis, and finished the wounded, old men and infants, in a macabre and repugnant scene.

The French executed Cheikh Bouziane and Cheikh Moussa El Derkaoui, as well as Bouziane’s son, who was just 17 years old, and then beheaded them. Ignoring the sanctity of the bodies of the deceased, the soldiers of the occupation exposed the skulls of the valiant martyrs at the gates of Biskra, as a form of revenge but also in order to spread fear and terror among the population. The skulls were then transferred to the Museum of Man in Paris.

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