Algiers - Algerian authorities have arrested a well-known veteran of the war of independence against France, his grandson and media outlets said Sunday, after he reportedly criticised military chief Ahmed Gaid Saleh.

Lakhdar Bouregaa, who is in his 80s, was arrested at his home in the upscale Hydra neighbourhood overlooking Algiers on Saturday and taken to a intelligence services base, grandson Imad Bouregaa said.

He told the DzVid news website that his grandfather’s arrest was linked to comments he made about Gaid Salah, Algeria’s strongman since the ouster in April of veteran president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. “My grandfather said that Gaid Salah wanted to impose his own candidate in presidential elections” to replace Bouteflika, he said.

Bouteflika resigned after weeks of protests against his rule, only hours after close ally Gaid Salah demanded impeachment proceedings against him.

Gaid Salah has since been pushing for polls to choose a successor but a planned election on July 4 was scrapped after the only two candidates were rejected.

Bouregaa’s arrest was also reported by several media outlets in Algeria, including French-language daily Liberte, and sparked criticism on social media.

His arrest has “shocked” many of those who took part in the 1954-1962 war of independence against French colonial rule, human rights activist Fodil Boumala said in a statement posted on Facebook.