Ahmed Ben Bella

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Mohamed Ahmed Ben Bella (born 1918) became the first President of Algeria and is recognized as the Father of that nation. He was born there and educated with other Muslims by European teachers before eventually failing a key exam and dropping out. He served with distinction in the French army before leading Algeria to independence as a founder of its liberation group, Front de Libération Nationale (FLN).

Taking power in 1962, he ruled Algeria until 1965, when he was deposed and put under house arrest. He went into exile in Switzerland in 1980, but was eventually allowed to return to Algeria in 1990.