Home FEATURES On This Day On this day 1971:10 military officers were executed in Rabat, Morocco.

On this day 1971:10 military officers were executed in Rabat, Morocco.

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On this day 1971:
At least 10 senior military officers including 4 generals involved in an aborted coup were executed in Rabat, Morocco.
The coup was instigated by General Mohamed Medbouh who was the head of the Moroccan Royal Guard under King Hassan II, Lieutenant-colonel M’hamed Ababou and his elder brother Commandant Mohamed Ababou.
In April 1971 while visiting the US, Medbouh discovered that Pan American World Airways abandoned its plan to build an International hotel in Casablanca because of official graft. Ben Messaoud, the King’s confidant had written that the company: “Should also pay 600 million to the king”.
Medbouh reported to the King who briefly detained Messaoud and fired some cabinet ministers. But Medbouh believed this to be a slap on the wrist and concluded that the King was also corrupt. He then hatched a plan to oust the King.
On 10 July 1971, 1,200 armed cadets stormed the palace during the king’s birthday reception. About 92 people were killed during the shooting, including the Belgian ambassador, the Minister of Justice, the ex-Prime Minister. The King managed to hide in a bathroom.
Meanwhile a disagreement between Medbouh who only wanted the King to abdicate and M’hamed Ababou who had more extreme demands cause the junior officer to fatally shoot the general. Ababou was later killed in the crossfire at the military HQ.
The coupists initially announced the King’s death but when the King emerged from hiding, the rebels who met him dropped their weapons and started chanting “Long Live The King” claiming they were hypnotised into believing the palace was under attack and they were to save the King.
Less than 72 hours later, 4 generals, 5 colonels and 1 major faced a firing squad without trial or court martial. They were shot in the courtyard of a military barracks in Rabat witnessed by military officers, who spat on the corpses. However, many believe they wanted to reform the political system without harming the King.
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