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Iraqi PM retires 24 interior ministry officers

The mass sacking came a day he vowed to widen a crackdown on graft in the crisis-stricken country

Published: Updated:

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Monday said he has retired 24 senior interior ministry officers, a day after he vowed to widen a crackdown on corruption in the crisis-stricken country.

According to Abadi's official Twitter feed, the move is part of “efforts to reform and rebuild Iraq’s security institutions.”

Abadi's office said Sunday an investigation had found a list of 50,000 “ghost soldiers” in the Iraqi military and vowed to widen a crackdown on graft in the country.

“In terms of reforms in the military establishment, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi uncovered the presence of 50,000 fictitious named in four military units,” a statement from Abadi’s office said.

A parliament statement said Abadi scrapped the 50,000 jobs, equivalent to almost four full army divisions, reported AFP.

Since taking office in September, Abadi has sacked or retired several top military commanders, and Sunday’s announcement suggests he wants to tackle the graft and patronage that prevailed under his predecessor Nouri al-Maliki, reported AFP.

“Haidar al-Abadi is setting integrity, efficiency and courage as the criteria to appoint a new military leadership...
“This weeding out process will extend beyond the military to all state institutions,” Abadi’s spokesman Rafid Jaboori said on Sunday.

Over the last several months, the country has faced a swelling Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-led (ISIS) insurgency, supported by Sunni tribes who viewed ISIS as a credible foe against Maliki’s Shiite-led regime.

Since taking up office as premier, Abadi has made overtures to unite Iraq's disparate Sunni and Shiite factions against the militants.