Thursday, 28 June 2018

Algeria's Powerful Police Chief Sacked


Algeria's Abdelaziz Bouteflika has sacked his powerful police chief, who was seen as a possible successor to the 81-year-old head of state.

Gen Abdelghani Hamel had led the police since 2010.

No reason was given for the 62-year-old's dismissal but it comes amid a drug-trafficking scandal that has shaken the establishment.

The police have denied media reports that the general's personal chauffeur was involved in smuggling cocaine.

However, the force admitted that one of its fleet of drivers had been arrested in connection with the case involving the seizure of more than 700kg (1,540lb) of cocaine from a container ship in May.

The shipment, destined for a prominent businessman, came from Brazil and the drugs were found in boxes marked "halal meat".

Gen Hamel's sacking comes as a surprise as he is close to the president and has survived other difficult situations in his eight years as police chief.

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