Oufkir, Major General Mohammed
(1924-1972)
   He was born in the Aït Saghrouchene village of Ain Cha`ir between Boudnib and Bouanane in eastern Morocco. His father was a caid, and he facilitated the French invasion of southern Morocco and Tafilalet and was rewarded for his services after 1912 with the caidate of Boudnib. As a fils de notables, Oufkir graduated from the Berber normal school of Azrou and the military academy of Meknes. In 1943, he took part in the Allied expeditionary corps in Italy. From 1947 to 1950, he served as a commando officer in the French army in Indo-China. In 1950, he served in the general staff of the French army as a liaison officer with the Royal Palace. In 1955, Sultan Mohammed V appointed him as his aide-de-camp.
   His liaison post was crucial at the time, as he worked as an intermediary between the French and the exiled king Mohammed V. This gained him trust and access in the new independent state. During the Rif Revolt of 1958-1959, he was in charge of repressing the Rif rebels, and his ruthless tactics gained him the post of minister of interior in 1961. In 1960, Oufkir reorganized the Moroccan military forces and became the director the Sûreté Nationale to control dissidents. In 1964, he was appointed, once again, minister of the interior, and during the same year he was promoted to the rank of general. After the abortive coup d'état of Skhirat in 1971, he became the minister of defense and was promoted to major general of the army. He is remembered for his brutal repression of the 1965 riots of Casablanca and was accused and convicted in the adduction and presumed later death of Mehdi Ben Barka. This latter event led to a cooling in Franco-Moroccan relations until the end of the decade. In the coup manqué of 1971, Oufkir, who was present in Skhirat, was not accused of complicity and was responsible for the rounding up of various people implicated in the coup. In the second abortive coup in 1972, the pilots implicated Oufkir, and he is said to have died from self-inflicted multiple wounds to the body on 17 August 1972. He is buried in his native village, Ain Cha`ir.
   See also Mouvement Populaire.

Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen) . . 2014.

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