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Secret police unit to be investigated

The Swiss justice minister has ordered an inquiry into the activities of a secret police unit whose existence was made public by a news magazine last week.

In an interview published on Sunday, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf told the German-language newspaper Zentralschweiz am Sonntag that she wanted to know whether the Tigris rapid intervention unit had exceeded its mandate on any occasion during the last three or four years.

Confusion has reigned since the Weltwoche magazine wrote about the unit in an article published on Wednesday.

Weltwoche said Tigris – which currently has 14 members - had no clear political mandate, that its budget was opaque and that its legal basis was shaky.

The individual cantons are responsible for security questions, but it has emerged that some cantonal police forces were apparently unaware of the existence of Tigris, while others said they work closely with it.

A number of parliamentarians have since expressed concern about the legal basis on which the unit was set up.

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