Gendarmerie Nationale (Algeria)
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The Gendarmerie Nationale (Arabic: الدرك الوطني, "ad-Darak al-Watani"), is the national rural police force of Algeria. As part of the Algerian Armed Forces is commanded by a Major General who reports directly to the Minister of National Defense. In 2007 the gendarmerie consists of 60,000. Although generally regarded as a versatile and competent paramilitary force, the gendarmerie has been severely tested in dealing with civil disorder since 1988. It frequently has lacked sufficient manpower at the scene of disorder and its units have been inadequately trained and equipped for riot control. The gendarmerie, however, has demonstrated the ability to root out terrorist groups operating from mountain hideouts.
The gendarmerie is responsible for maintaining law and order in villages, towns, and rural areas; providing security surveillance over local inhabitants; and representing government authority in remote regions, especially where tensions and conflicts have occurred in the past.
The gendarmerie is organized in battalions, whose component companies and platoons are dispersed to individual communities and desert outposts. Its regional headquarters are in the same cities as the six military regional headquarters with subdivisions in the forty-eight wilayat.
A highly mobile force, the gendarmerie possesses a modern communications system connecting its various units with one another and with the army. Equipment includes light armored weapons and transport and patrol vehicles. The force in 1993 had 44 Panhard M3 armored personnel carriers (an APC variant of the Panhard AML.), 50 Fahd armored personnel carriers, and 28 Mi-2 light helicopters.10 AgustaWestland AW109.
In addition to utilizing training provided by the French since independence, the gendarmerie operates its own schools for introductory and advanced studies. The gendarmerie's main training center is at Sidi Bel Abbes, The officers school is at Isser, about 80 kilometers east of Algiers.
1. Library of Congress Country Study Algeria