Ben Bella, Ahmed (äkhmĕdˈ bĕn bĕlˈlä) [key], 1919–2012, Algerian statesman. After World War II he joined the Algerian nationalist movement and soon became a leader of its underground paramilitary faction. He later (1952–56) served as director of the movement. Imprisoned (1956–62) for his activities, he became Algeria's first premier after independence was declared in 1962 and was elected president in 1963. In 1965, Ben Bella's government was toppled in a coup led by Houari Boumedienne, and he was kept under house arrest until 1980, when he went into exile (1980–90) in Switzerland.
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