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Belgian Police Smash Arms Smuggling Ring

Reuters

17 March 1998

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BRUSSELS — Belgian police have broken what they say is an arms smuggling operation, seizing quantities of assault rifles, handguns, ammunition and explosives and arresting one man in a raid on a house near Liege.

"He has confessed and has been charged under the laws on possession of firearms, relating to holding, buying and selling military arms," said Christine Wilwerth, deputy public prosecutor in Liege.

Liege police commissioner Francis Perilleux said the guns were transitting Belgium from Eastern Europe and were destined for overseas markets.

The arms put on show by the police included six Kalashnikov assault rifles, a Scorpion machine pistol, an array of handguns of various makes, quantities of ammunition, three kilos of TNT and just over a kilo of plastic explosive and detonators.

Into the stock of one of the rifles were carved the words "Vukovar," "Bihac" and "Brcko" — scenes of fierce fighting during the war in Bosnia.

Wilwerth said the weapons came from the "mercenary" sector.

Police said they were conducting forensic tests on the arms and ammunition to see if any had been used in or could be connected with an attack in January on a security van in which two of the three man crew were shot dead.

Kalashnikovs were used in that attack in which more than 80 rounds were fired at point blank range into the armoured vehicle.

ID: N217

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