Soldiers deployed to protect Geneva missions

Swiss soldiers are learning how to handle police security equipment such as hand-held metal detectors Keystone

A contingent of soldiers is to be deployed in Geneva to protect the city's international organisations in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

This content was published on October 24, 2001 - 14:35

The cabinet gave the go-ahead for the deployment on 50 Fortification Guards on Wednesday in response to a request from the Geneva authorities, who were seeking support for local police.

Some 30 troops are expected to be deployed immediately around foreign missions and the headquarters of international organisations, with the remaining 20 scheduled to arrive on November 1.

Since the September 11 attacks in the United States, security has been stepped up at embassy buildings and diplomatic offices around Switzerland.

Heightened security

Geneva made the request for troops on October 12, saying it was concerned that its police force did not have the resources to protect the buildings concerned amid the perceived need for heightened security.

Security has also been stepped up at Swiss public buildings, including cantonal parliaments, after a gunman ran amok in the local parliament in Zug on September 27, killing 14 people before turning the gun on himself.

The infantry is also training some of its troops in case they are needed to assist cantonal police. A 1,600-strong contingent has been undergoing intensive training in cantons Valais and Vaud.

swissinfo with agencies

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