Responsibility for maintaining law and order is shared by the Gendarmerie Nationale and the SűretÚ Nationale. Operations against subversives are conducted by various civilian organizations as well as by Military Security (SÚcuritÚ Militaire--SM). The gendarmerie, active principally in rural areas and remote mountain and desert regions, and the SűretÚ, an urban police force, were both formed after independence in 1962 and were patterned after their counterparts in metropolitan France. Both organizations carry out normal police duties, although they handle routine internal security functions as well. Military Security is responsible for foreign intelligence, military offenses, and civilian espionage and subversion, especially at times of a breakdown of public order. )
The SM operates under the authority of the Ministry of Interior, as does the gendarmerie, although the latter is considered a paramilitary adjunct to the armed forces. In the early 1990s, the SM had about 6,000 to 10,000 military personnel equipped with shotguns and other small arms organized into counterterrorist brigades. SM personnel are commanded by an army general and report directly to the minister of national defense. Active in Algiers and the surrounding area, they have as their mission to investigate and respond to intelligence provided by the police and the gendarmerie. A Republican Guard Brigade of 1,200 persons is also available to deal with civil disturbances. It is equipped with light tanks and armored vehicles.
|Country Studies main page | Algeria Country Studies main page|