top of page

Name of leader          Mourad Sid Ahmed


Organization                    Group Islamique Armé (GIA)

English Translation         Armed Islamic Group


Conflict country               Algeria


Gender                               Male   


Year of birth                      1963[1]


Place of birth                    Algiers, in a district of Kouba, Algeria[2]


Year of death                    1994[3]





Yes, he was killed in action in 1994.


Birth order


His birth order is unknown.


Age at start of rebel leadership


He became the leader in August 1993.[4] He was 30 years old.[5]


Leader entry method


He became the leader after the previous leader, Layada, was arrested.[6]




No, there is no evidence of powersharing. The GIA has a consultative council.[7]


Education (also name universities attended, if any); note any relevant experiences while a student


He had only a primary school education.[8]


Ever married? If yes, age of first marriage


Whether he was married is unknown.




Whether he had children is unknown.


Religious identification


The GIA is an Islamist rebel group.[9] It can be assumed Ahmed was Muslim.


Elite family background


He was described as having an underprivileged background.[10]


Political affiliations and intellectual circles; note any relevant social connections made


Sid Ahmed knew Abdelhak Layada.[11]


Physical and mental health


His physical and mental health is unknown.


Pre-militant leader occupation


He was a smuggler. The exact description is that he traded in contraband goods.[12]


Experience in a state military, and role; any relevant social ties


No, there is no evidence of experience in a state military.


Experience in a nonstate military, and role; any relevant social ties


Yes, he was one of the founders of the GIA and the emir for Algiers.[13] He was a lieutenant of Islamist Meliani.[14] He was a lieutenant of Osama bin Laden.[15] He fought in Afghanistan in Hezb-e Islami.[16]


Combat experience prior to assuming resistance organization leadership?


Yes, before the GIA was established, he once fought security forces that attacked him and other Islamists. He provided cover for his colleagues’ escape.[17] He fought against the USSR in Afghanistan.[18]


Held government position prior to assuming leadership?


No, there is no evidence he held a government position.


Lived in exile?


Whether he lived in exile is unknown.


Study abroad?


No, there is no evidence he studied abroad.


Did the leader receive military training abroad?


Yes, he fought in Afghanistan with Hezb-e-Islami.[19]


Did the leader have extensive work experience abroad?


No, there is no evidence he had extensive work experience abroad.


Serve time in prison? Social connections during that time?


Whether he served time in prison is unknown.


Was there an assassination attempt on the leader by the state?


No, but the courts sentenced him in absentia to death in 1993.[20]


Cause of Death?


He died in a gun battle.[21] Security forces had attacked a house where senior GIA leaders were meeting.[22] Some people speculated that the army was given information on his location, but this belief has not been proven.[23]


Primary language, and other languages spoken as adult


His primary language was likely Arabic.[24]









[1] Yahia H. Zoubir, “Resilient Authoritarianism, Uncertain Democratization, and Jihadism in Algeria” In Democratic Development and Political Terrorism: The Global Perspective, Edited by William J. Crotty, (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2005), 291. Gilles Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, Translated by Anthony F. Roberts, (London: I.B. Tauris, 2006), 263.

[2] “The birth of the GIA,” angles de vue, October 14, 2009, Accessed April 30, 2018,

[3] Edward F. Mickolus and Susan L. Simmons, Terrorism, 1992-1995: A Chronology of Events and a Selectively Annotated Bibliography, (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1997), 493.

[4]. Zoubir. “291.

[5] Kepel. 263.

[6] Michael Willis, The Islamist Challenge in Algeria: A Political History, (Washington Square, NY: New York University Press, 1996), 285.

[7]  Camille Tawil, Brothers in Arms: The Story of al-Qa’ida and the Arab Jihadists, Translated by Robin Bray, (London: Saqi, 2010), 82.

[8] Kepel. 263.

[9] Lauren Vriens, “Armed Islamic Group (Algeria, Islamists),” Council on Foreign Relations, May 27, 2009. Accessed April 12, 2018.

[10] Kepel. 263.

[11] Tawil. 81.

[12] Kepel. 263.

[13] Tawil. 81-82.

[14] Willis. 285.

[15] Adam Robinson, Bin Laden: The Inside Story of the Rise and Fall of the Most Notorious Terrorist in History, (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2011), 114.

[16] Kepel. 263.

[17] Tawil. 78.

[18] “Algeria,” The Columbia World Dictionary of Islamism, Edited by Olivier Roy and Antoine Sfeir, Translated by John King, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), 45.

[19] Kepel. 263.

[20] “Head of Algerian Islamic Terror Group Shot Dead,” The Herald (Glasgow), February 28, 1994. Accessed April 4, 2018 via Lexis Nexus.

[21] Mickolus. 493.

[22] Willis. 324.

[23] Kepel. 264.

[24] “Languages," Central Intelligence Agency, Accessed July 4, 2020,

bottom of page