Sunday, December 24, 2006

Macedonia seized Bulgaria-bound arms

SKOPJE, Macedonia, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Macedonian authorities seized three trucks loaded with weaponry apparently being smuggled into neighboring Bulgaria, Skopje police said.

The weapons included mortars, machine guns, assault rifles and pistols, Macedonia's Kanal-5 television reported Friday. The equipment had been property of the army of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and had been decommissioned.

The Macedonian Interior Ministry confirmed the trucks were seized Thursday outside Skopje and an investigation was under way.

The Macedonian Defense Ministry said its own investigation was opened to establish who permitted taking out the arms from the Skopje factory compound where the weapons were refurbished.

The army said the arms were a legal shipment within a compensation treaty between the Bulgarian and Macedonian armed forces, the Skopje Maxfax online newspaper said. But, the Macedonian police ministry said the trucks lacked transportation documents and had no proper escort.

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