A statement from the defense ministry overseen by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced Wednesday the sacking of Menad Nouba, head of the military police (gendarmerie), one week after the dismissal of the chief of internal security.
The statement said a decree signed by President Bouteflika appointed Ghali Belekcir in replacement of Nouba. President Bouteflika is country’s defense minister.
Belekcir had been since October 2017 chief of staff of the gendarmerie.
According to speculations, Nouba has been fired in connection with the cocaine scandal ongoing in the North African country.
Security authorities seized 701 kg of cocaine late May at the port of Oran, the country’s second city.
Several people in the Algerian public administration, businessmen and judiciary personalities have been under investigation in connection with the seizure.
The new decree comes one week after the sacking of Abdelghani Hamel, former head of internal security (DGSN), who had criticized the gendarmerie for dragging foot in the probe and denounced interferences.
Hamel had indicated that though his institution was not in charge of the investigation, they had damning evidences that would be handed over to the justice.
Other analysts argued that Hamel’s dismissal was a false flag move to sideline him over his alleged political ambitions. Hamel according to Bouteflika’s entourage harbored ambitions to run for next year presidential elections.
The 83-year old Bouteflika, though frail and unable to walk, is being pushed by allies and his party to run for a fifth term.