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Algiers (AFP) - The remains of Hocine Ait-Ahmed, one of the fathers of Algeria's struggle for independence from France and then a longtime opposition figure, arrived home on Thursday for a state funeral.

The 89-year-old, who died in Switzerland last week after a long illness, was the last of the nine so-called "sons of Toussaint" who launched the uprising in November 1954.

His coffin arrived wrapped in the national flag at Algiers airport, where Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and other officials attended prayers.

His remains were then taken to his Socialist Forces Front (FFS) party headquarters for a wake, before his burial in his home village of Ait Yahya on Friday.

Ait-Ahmed, who was jailed by the French in 1956, was freed after a ceasefire in 1962. He went into opposition when Ahmed Ben Bella became president, and had been an opposition figure ever since.

He was arrested in 1964 and condemned to death but later freed, and left for exile in Lausanne in 1966.

He returned to Algeria in 1989 after the FFS was legalised, but returned three years later.

He stood as a candidate in the 1999 presidential election, but he and five others pulled out mid-campaign arguing that the vote was rigged in favour of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who remains president today.

His health began failing in 2012, and he resigned the following year as head of the FFS.

After Ait-Ahmed's death, Bouteflika declared eight days of mourning.

Tag(s) : #Society

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