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Internet sales Swiss arms circulating in Libya chaos

Libyan fighter with gun

Lawless Libya has seen a fresh upsurge of fighting, with weapons being sold over the Internet. 

(Keystone)

Swiss weapons have reportedly been circulating in Libya amid a recent upsurge of fighting between rival militia. 

Traders from the Libyan capital Tripoli have been selling RUAG weapons and Swiss grenade launchers on the Internet, according to the "SonntagsBlick" newspaper. The paper refers to a report by the Australian weapons research centre ARESexternal link and photo documents. Libyan Facebook users with direct links to armed groups are among those wanting to buy, it says.   

Swiss state-owned defence contractor RUAG and defence supplier Brügger and Thomet AG both confirmed to the newspaper that the photos were pictures of their products, says SonntagsBlick, but it is unclear how the weapons arrived in the war-torn region. 

This comes after the Swiss government in June decided to relax arms export rules, making exports to countries with an internal armed conflict possible under certain conditions.  

Questioned by "SonntagsBlick", conservative-right defence minister Guy Parmelin defended the move but said arms exports to countries like Libya and Syria would not be allowed.


 

 

swissinfo.ch/jc

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