Days after Tizi Ouzou has suffered one of the biggest fires in Algeria's history, social media commentators reported the brutal death of artist and social activist Jamal ben Ismael as an unknown group attacked him and set him on fire believing that "he started the fire" engulfing the city.
المغدور #جمال_بن_اسماعيل سارع لمساعدة إخوانه بعد حرائق #تيزي_وزو فوجد نفسه متهما بإضرام النيران..كمية الغضب التي تسود حاليا جعلت شبابا يحرقونه حيا والمؤلم أمام أعين أجهزة الأمن حيث أُخرج عنوة من سيارة تابعة لها ولم يتحركوا ساكنا— karima Ziada كريمة زيادة (@karimaziada) August 12, 2021
كلنا غاضبون لكن ما حدث لا مُبرِّر له عمل #الجزائر pic.twitter.com/jPWbExG08z
Translation: "The late Jamal ben Ismael rushed to help his fellow citizens after the Tizi Ouzou fire broke out to find himself accused of starting the blaze. The looming anger has pushed youngsters to burn him alive in front of security officers as he was dragged out of a police car. We are all angry but this is unjustifiable."
While Algerian authorities announced national mourning for three days after more than 65 people have lost their lives, including soldiers who tried to rescue residents of areas on fire, there was an official claim that the "wildfires were deliberately started by individuals."
This has infuriated the public and urged a group of unknown men to attack a man they believed was responsible for the blaze.
Later, the video of the attack against Jamal ben Ismael went viral online, showing his final minutes as he was burned alive and killed for his alleged role. Yet, online people identified him as a prominent artist who was present in the area to help residents out amid the historic fires.
#جمال_بن_اسماعيل ابن مدينة مليانة اتضح أنه فنان وشُهد له بالطيبة وفعل الخير.معلومات تقول إن أعيان #تيزي_وزو سيتوجهون إلى مدينة المغدور للاعتذار وطلب السماح بعد هذه الجريمة اللاانسانية.أتمنى ألا يكسر ما وقع قوة التضامن والتآخي لمساعدة المتضررين من الحرائق في #الجزائر— karima Ziada كريمة زيادة (@karimaziada) August 12, 2021
Translation: "Jamal ben Ismael is from Miliana. He's a popular artist known for his kindness and good doing. Sources are saying that notable people from Tizi Ouzou will head to his city to apologize for this inhumane crime and ask for their forgiveness. I hope today's events don't break the sense of solidarity amongst the people affected by Algeria's fires. RIP"
Translation: "RIP Jamal ben Ismael"
Twitter users were even more angered by the fact that ben Ismael was killed in front of police officers who did not try to protect him amid false accusations. Online people strongly condemned the random attack on ben Ismael, urging people to wait for investigations and for authorities to take action.
So far, more than 65 people have been announced dead as a result of more than 69 fires that extended to large areas of Tizi Ouzou for several days now.
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