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Energy-rich Turkmenistan's leader fires head of state natural gas company in reshuffle

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ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan - Official media in energy-rich Turkmenistan say the president has fired the head of the Central Asian country's state natural gas company in the latest government reshuffle.

State television reported Saturday that the president also dismissed a deputy prime minister in charge of transportation for lack of progress on completing a railway line linking the region to the Persian Gulf.

Senior officials are frequently replaced in the secretive former Soviet state, creating an added element of unpredictability for state managers and potential foreign investors in the relatively undeveloped energy sector. Sahatmyrad Mammedov had been in charge of Turkmengaz for less than a year and was removed over unspecified shortcomings.

The public services minister and several regional heads were also fired during Friday's government meeting overseen by authoritarian President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov.

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