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Army dismantles shooting simulator at Basel fair

The defence ministry has confirmed reports that it has dismantled an electronic firing range simulator, which was to have been part of its stand at the Muba trade fair in Basel, opening on Friday.

The defence ministry has confirmed reports that it has dismantled an electronic firing range simulator, which was to have been part of its stand at the Muba trade fair in Basel, opening on Friday. The simulator had come in for harsh criticism because it used human figures as targets.

The army, which will have one of the largest exhibits at this year's Muba, said it took the decision because it thought the firing range would not be suitable for a fair open to the general public. It will still be displaying everything from a soldier's mess kit to fighter jets over more than 4,000 square metres. A computer-generated programme which helps soldiers learn how to recognise aircraft and armoured vehicles will take the place of the firing range.

One of Switzerland's main pacifist organisations will set up a counter display at the fair. The Group for a Switzerland without an Army has slammed the army's presence as nothing more than a propaganda event being held at the expense of taxpayers.

Outside the fair, the police in Basel said various groups are planning to hold demonstrations against the army's participation.

Two explosive devices caused damage to a building housing defence ministry offices and to the house of the government's new intelligence co-ordinator in Berne earlier in the week. A little known left-wing group claimed responsibility and linked the attacks with the army at the Muba fair.

swissinfo with agencies





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