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Mohamed Oufkir

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Mohamed Oufkir
Oufkir in 1971
Born14 May 1920
Died16 August 1972(1972-08-16) (aged 52)
Cause of deathShot
Known forForced disappearance of Mehdi Ben Barka, 1972 Moroccan coup attempt
Children6, Malika

General Si Mohamed ben Ahmed Oufkir (Arabic: محمد أوفقير‎; 14 May 1920 − 16 August 1972)[1][2] was a Moroccan senior military officer who held many important governmental posts. It is believed that he was assassinated for his alleged role in the failed 1972 Moroccan coup attempt.


Mohamed Oufkir was a native of Aïn Chaïr [fr], in the Tafilalt region, the stronghold of high Atlas Moroccan Berbers, in southeastern Morocco, where his father was appointed pasha by Hubert Lyautey in 1910.

He studied at the Berber College of Azrou near Meknes. In 1939, he entered the Military Academy of Dar El Beida (Meknes), and in 1941, he enlisted as a reserve lieutenant in the French Army.

During World War II, he served with distinction in the French Expeditionary Corps (4th Regiment of Moroccan Tirailleurs) on the Italian front in 1944, where he won the Croix de Guerre. He was also awarded the Silver Star in 1944 by U.S. Army Major General Alfred M. Gruenther, General Mark W. Clark's chief of staff, after the Battle of Monte Cassino. After the war, he fought with the French Far East Expeditionary Corps in the First Indochina War from 1947 to 1949, where his bravery was dubbed "legendary". In 1949 he was promoted captain and named to the Legion d'Honneur.[3][4][5]

As the right-hand man of King Hassan II in the 1960s and early 1970s, Oufkir led government supervision of politicians, unionists and the religious establishment. He forcefully repressed political protest through police and military clampdowns, pervasive government espionage, show trials, and numerous extralegal measures such as killings and forced disappearances. A feared figure in dissident circles, he was considered extraordinarily close to power. One of his most famous victims is believed to have been celebrated Moroccan politician Mehdi Ben Barka, who had "disappeared" in Paris in 1965. A French court convicted him of the murder.

In 1967, Oufkir was named interior minister, vastly increasing his power through direct control over most of the security establishment. After a failed republican military coup in 1971, he was named chief of staff and minister of defense, and set about purging the army and promoting his personal supporters. His domination of the Moroccan political scene was now near-complete, with the king ever more reliant on him to contain mounting discontent. L. Ron Hubbard and the Sea Org, the paramilitary upper echelon of the Church of Scientology which had fled to Morocco after being denied entry to most European Mediterranean ports, sought to convert Oukfir by providing him with E-meters to use as lie detectors to apprehend coup participants.[6]

Oufkir was accused of plotting the 1972 Moroccan coup attempt against King Hassan II. Though official sources claimed that the general had committed suicide in response to the failure of the coup, his daughter, Malika Oufkir, writing in her book Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail, claims to have seen five bullet wounds in her father's body, all in positions not consistent with suicide. It is generally accepted outside of official circles that Oufkir was executed by forces loyal to the Moroccan monarchy.

On orders of the king, Oufkir's entire family was then sent to secret desert prison camps. They were not released until 1991, after American and European pressure on the government. After five years under close police supervision, they fled to France, a story that was detailed by Oufkir's daughter Malika in Stolen Lives. His wife Fatima and his son Raouf also published their accounts of the period.


He was awarded a total of seven citations, including three palmes (citations in Army Orders).[3]

See also[edit]


  • Stephen Smith, Oufkir, un destin marocain, Hachette Littératures, 2002
  • Malika Oufkir and Michèle Fitoussi (2001), Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail, Miramax Books (ISBN 0-7868-6861-9 )


  1. ^ "Fatéma Oufkir : Le roi et moi". Actuel. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  2. ^ "Raouf Oufkir dévoile le livret militaire de son père". Zamane (in French). 22 April 2020. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  3. ^ a b Stephen Smith, Oufkir, un destin marocain, Hachette Littératures, 2002
  4. ^ Steve Ewing, Thach weave: the life of Jimmie Thach, Naval Institute Press, 2004, p.286
  5. ^ C. R. Pennell, Morocco since 1830: a history, p.267
  6. ^ Wright, Lawrence (2013). Going clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the prison of belief. New York. ISBN 978-0-307-70066-7. OCLC 818318033.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  7. ^ "General Mohamed Oufkir, who had been awarded a United States Army Silver Star while fighting with the Allies during World War II.", Steve Ewing, Thach weave: the life of Jimmie Thach, Naval Institute Press, 2004, p.286
  8. ^ "Mohammed Oufkir, son of the man the French had attracted in the Tafilalt on the eve of the Protectorate, was awarded the Croix de guerre and the American Silver Star.", C. R. Pennell, Morocco since 1830: a history, p.267

External links[edit]

  • BBC Article on Malika Oufkir and recorded interview
  • Oprah Winfrey's Book Club The Oufkir family: Where are they now?
  • ArabicNews On three Moroccan weeklies banned in 2000, after articles tied the ruling USFP party to Oufkir's plot