Rakovnik, Central Bohemia, Sept 7 (CTK) – Czech soldiers will return to the barracks in Rakovnik that they left in January 2014 because the military plans to increase the number of troops due a new security situation, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky told journalists Monday.

The army is to return to Rakovnik, 50 km west of Prague, in 2018.

“We are in a different security situation now. As we want to recruit more soldiers and have more active reserve troops, we need the space that these barracks can provide,” Stropnicky said.

Chief-of-Staff Josef Becvar said up to 600 troops may be stationed in the barracks in 2018.

“It will be a combination of individual units,” Becvar said.

The area may be used for military vehicles and for exercises of reserve troops.

The barracks include eight buildings for soldiers to live, storage rooms, motor vehicle repair shops, a former canteen and a fitness centre. The area has 38 hectares, including 3.3 hectares of buildings.

Within austerity measures, the Czech military cancelled the 350-member engineer unit seated in Rakovnik 20 months ago.

The military plans to keep a bigger part of the barracks, including training grounds, and sell its smaller part, in which an industrial area is to be built according to the zoning plan. Originally, the military planned to sell the whole area.

Rakovnik Mayor Pavel Jensovsky (Social Democrats, CSSD) welcomed the planned return of the soldiers to the barracks.

Jensovsky said the army’s return would create new jobs and the soldiers would help the town in case of a natural disaster.