Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika hit out Tuesday against what he said were moves to undermine his office and the army, suggesting both were falling prey to political infighting.

“The fictitious conflict … within the ranks of the People’s National Army is linked to a destabilisation plan developed by those troubled by Algeria’s regional weight and influence,” he said in comments published by state media.

The comments come amid a mounting war of words, relayed by the country’s independent media, over the military’s role in Algerian politics, in which top brass have been portrayed as opposing a fourth term for the incumbent in April’s presidential election.