The Spanish Civil Guard has uncovered a stash of Swiss-made assault rifles which were originally meant for Ghana. They can be tracked back to Hungary but their appearance in Spain remains a mystery, media reports say.
The discovery was made on August 4 by the Civil Guard – which works under the Interior and Defence Ministries, a communiqué from Thursdayexternal link said.
Officers had opened a “suspicious” ship’s container from Ghana in the port city of Algeciras, which is near Gibraltar.
They found 737 assault rifles and 72 grenade launchers, which were Swiss made, said the Civil Guard. A video of the haul can be seen in this Civil Guard video posted on the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger’s websiteexternal link.
The Spanish authorities added that the arms were declared “disassembled”, but they were “new rifles in their original packaging”. According to the accompanying documents – which had some information missing – the weapons were to be transported from Ghana to commercial gun dealers in the United States.
The Spanish are now investigating the matter.
The Tages-Anzeiger has looked at the delivery’s export file. It reported on Friday that the weapons were indeed made in Switzerland and the exporters expected the delivery to go to Ghana, via a dealer in Hungary, in autumn 2010. The newspaper said the total value of the weapons was around CHF1.6 million ($1.64 million).
The buyer, it said, was given as the National Security Council of Ghana and assurances were made that the weapons would not be sold on, and would be for military use.
The Swiss firm responsible for sending the weapons to Hungary told the newspaper that the export from Switzerland had been undertaken correctly. It is not known how the delivery then ended up in Spain.
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco)’s Export Controls department was quoted as saying that it had taken note of the Spanish media reports and was checking the information.