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Germany gets new police, intelligence chiefs

Germany's interior minister has appointed new heads of the country's domestic intelligence agency and the Federal Police Force. The move follows a series of scandals involving Germany's law enforcement agencies.

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich made two key appointments on Wednesday, following a series of scandals involving the country's law enforcement agencies.

Friedrich appointed Dieter Roman as the new chief of the Federal Police Force, and Hans-Georg Maassen as the new head of the domestic intelligence agency, called the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

The 50-year-old Roman, who has been with the interior ministry for almost 20 years and is a close confidante of the interior minister, takes over from Matthias Seeger, who was sent into retirement this week. While no official reason was given for Seeger's removal from the post, the move followed media reports about alleged links between him and Belarusian President Alexandr Lukaschenko, who is widely regarded as Europe's last dictator. Seeger's two deputies have also been replaced, by senior civil servants within the interiror minstry.

Maassen, who is also 50, replaces Heinz Fromm, who recently resigned after it came to light that files related to an investigation into a series of killings allegedly carried out by a neo-Nazi group had been destroyed by staff at the agency. Up until now, Maassen has headed up the anti-terrorism unit at the interior ministry.

The removal of Seeger sparked sharp criticism from the GdP police union and the opposition.

The Left party announced on Wednesday that it had called for a special meeting of the German parliament's interior affairs committee to discuss the reasons for the "series of sackings" in the police force, a statement released by Left parliamentarians Jan Korte and Ulla Jelpke said. The move followed similar calls from the Social Democrats and the Greens earlier in the day.

pfd/ng (dpa, Reuters)