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‘Several kilograms’

Probe launched into missing army explosives

The Swiss military says it is investigating the possibility that several kilograms of explosives, along with blasting caps and fuses, and some training grenades have all gone missing.

According to military authorities, that amount of explosives could be used to paralyse power grids or supplies, and shut down transport infrastructure such as roads and trains within a significant area for a lengthy period of time. The authorities declined to give more specifics for fear of compromising the investigation.

The case began during an otherwise routine inspection of some ammunition boxes at an army infantry school in the northern Swiss city Aarau.

The defence ministry announced in a brief statement on Monday that, “the military justice system is investigating the alleged loss of several kilograms of explosives.”

Troubled tradition

This is not the first time the military has struggled to keep track of its weapons.

Three years ago, the Swiss armed forces acknowledged it was still having trouble locating thousands of rifles and pistols issued to soldiers who completed their compulsory service between 2006 and 2011.

Keeping military firearms at home is a long-standing tradition for the Swiss army, which is supposed to be ready for a call to arms in times of crisis.

However, most active members are not allowed to store munitions, since a ban on the practice was agreed by parliament in December 2008. Ammunition is now mainly stored in central arsenals.

Army-issue weapons have been involved in hundreds of suicides a year, and in a number of high-profile shootings in Switzerland in recent years.

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swissinfo.ch and agencies


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