Since Morocco overhauled its anti-terrorism mechanism in 2015, the man monitoring the system has become a recognizable face in security circles globally.
Rabat – Jeune Afrique, considered Africa’s top francophone magazine, has said that Abdellatif Hammouchi is the mastermind of Morocco’s successful anti-terrorism mechanism.
Hammouhci is the head the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) and the General Directorate of Territorial Security (DGST), Morocco’s joint elite forces on anti-terrorism. The two services were merged in 2015 to modernize and improve Morocco’s responsiveness to terrorist threats.
The success of the two security services, which has earned Morocco a strong reputation for anti-terrorism and stability, is at the same time winning Hammouchi nicknames in media reports.
The latest accolade came from a Jeune Afrique profile article that lauded the “incomparable” success of Hammouchi’s four-year tenure as the head of Moroccan intelligence.
The magazine listed Hammouhci among “Africa’s most influential personalities in 2019” in a dossier it published over the weekend. Jeune Afrique noted, referring to the list, that “these are people who are impacting public opinion, and are capable of inspiring and inciting us to imitate them.”
Sliding into the nickname ritual set up by other outlets that have hailed the success of Hammouchi’s tenure at the DGSG-DGST in recent months, Jeune Afrique, described him as “the nightmare of terrorists.”
Hammouchi “has been extolled by his African and European colleagues,” the newspaper wrote. “If Morocco features today at the forefront in terms of anti-terrorism, it owes it in large measure to his incomparable knowledge of the Islamist network.”
But dismantling terror cells, thwarting terrorist plots, or even sharing vital intelligence with partner countries are not the only reasons the Moroccan officer made it to Jeune Afrique’s list.
Being popular with everyday Moroccans also counted in the magazine’s choice. Hammouchi, according to Jeune Afrique, has succeeded in “reconciling citizens with the police.”
While Jeune Afrique’s comments carry a degree of exaggeration, Hammouchi is no stranger to excessive praise from the media.
Adopting a similar tone in July of 2018, an Italian daily referred to Hammouchi as the “super agent who never sleeps.”
The paper said Hammouhci had “an incredible memory,” was the “most informed man in Morocco,” and was “one of the finest connoisseurs of extremist Islamism.”