• Bou Hmara

  • Friday, March 15, 2024 at 10:26:14 AM
    Last Update : Tuesday, March 19, 2024 at 10:11 AM

Algeria’s Oldest Gun Repairer Draws on Experience Resisting the French

(AWP) - An elderly Algerian proudly continues to do his job as a weapons repairer in Batna Province (400 km from Algiers) just as he did over five decades ago when he was fixing weapons for Algerian resistance fighters against the French occupation.

94-year-old Mohammed al-Dalandi (also known among his friends as “Sisbane”) says he repaired nearly 2000 rifles for the Algerian revolution militants during the War of Independence, and made many more using primitive tools such as pieces of iron.

After decades of repairing weapons for resistance members and other Algerians, Sisbane’s reputation grew to become the country’s “number one” repairer, as one of his clients attested to as he was getting his hunting rifle fixed.

In his shop in the town of Bou Hmara in Batna Province, Sisbane said, “We started working in this profession with my brother, who preceded me in it in 1944. I learned the basics of the profession from him. I started working in it in 1948 and still do so today.”

He added, “I worked on repairing the weapons of the Mujahideen during the war of liberation [against France] until its end. This is our profession now, and we hope, God willing, that our business will expand, especially since my son has inherited this profession.”

Despite his advanced age, Sisbane is still capable of mending at least three rifles a day to meet the needs of hunting enthusiasts who come to repair their weapons from all over Algeria.

He has a knack for finding a solution for any broken weapon, old or new, and sometimes resorts to manually fabricating spare parts himself.

Sisbane says, “If the weapon is new, I look in the manual for the weapon and the parts it is made of. If it is old, I make the spare parts myself, especially since they are difficult to obtain from a source or factory outside Algeria. I make all of these myself here within three hours.”