Hamidou Laanigri was a Moroccan general and the former head of the intelligence service for the Moroccan Ministry of the Interior. He has been a controversial figure, often accused of acts of torture, particularly in relation to the detention of Islamist activists following the 2003 Casablanca bombing and in connection with the secret Temara interrogation centre.
Born in 1939, Hamidou Laanigri began his military career in 1956. Starting off as a corporal, he worked under General Driss Benomar, who also hails from Meknes. Benomar first sent Laanigri to the military training school of Ahermoumou, followed by the Officers School of Dar al-Bayda (also known as the Officers academy of Meknes). Upon graduation, Laanigri earned the rank of second lieutenant (sous-lieutenant).
In 1960, he was deployed to Zag and later spent a few months in Agadir. By 1962, Laanigri joined the Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie. A year after joining, he was posted to Tangiers and subsequently Kenitra.
In 1977, while serving as a colonel in the Gendarmerie, Laanigri led a military unit that was sent to Zaire to assist Mobutu in suppressing the Shaba I rebellion. Two years later, in 1979, he was dispatched to the United Arab Emirates as a security instructor. He returned to Morocco in 1989.
Under Mohammed VI
In September 1999, Mohammed VI promoted Laanigri to head the DST (Direction de Surveillance du Territoire), replacing Driss Basri. General Kadiri, who recommended him for the position, noted Laanigri’s strong aversion to Islamists.
By September 2006, Laanigri left the DST and was appointed as the General Inspector of the Auxiliary Forces. Although rumors circulated in late 2012 that he had retired, he was reported to still be heading this paramilitary unit as of January 2014.
Laanigri was also responsible for the creation of the Groupes urbains de sécurité, which went by the nickname Croatia. These groups were disbanded after he left the police directorate.
In September 2011, Laanigri survived a road accident. He passed away in 2023.
Laanigri faced multiple accusations of acts of torture, particularly against Islamist activists detained after the 2003 Casablanca bombing. He was also implicated in activities related to the secret Temara interrogation centre.