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Algeria leader replaces powerful intelligence chief

Bouteflika began easing the military and its DRS intelligence wing out of the political sphere before his re-election last April

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Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has replaced his powerful intelligence chief, a security source said on Sunday, in the latest move in a shake-up of the country’s security forces.

General Mohamed Mediene, better known as Toufik, had held the post for 25 years before being replaced by his deputy, General Bachir Tartag, the source said.

The announcement came a day after Bouteflika’s chief of staff confirmed the arrest last month of the former head of counter-terrorism.

Analysts said Mediene, chief of the DRS intelligence service, had long played the role of political kingmaker by seeking to influence leadership choices in Algeria's behind-the-scenes power struggles.

Bouteflika began easing the military and its DRS intelligence wing out of the political sphere before his re-election last April, analysts said, in preparation for his eventual departure after more than 15 years in power.

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