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MfD: Daesh fighters shooting with old Czechoslovak arms

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Prague, Oct 9 (CTK) – Islamic State (IS) fighters use the 7.62mm submachines, made in the Communist Czechoslovakia, that were sold by the Czech military to private arms dealers after 1989, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) wrote on Monday, citing the findings provided by the British Conflict Armament Research (CAR).

After the 1989 overthrow of the Communist regime, the military sold thousands of its 7.62mm submachine guns to private dealers as they were considered redundant, MfD writes.

Last year, the NGO CAR asked the Czech Foreign Ministry for help in order to track down the origin of the submachines with specific serial numbers.

The ministry has confirmed the cooperation with CAR, but has declined to elaborate.

This is a delicate affair since under the law, the Foreign Ministry has to confirm the arms exports, MfD writes.

Last year, Iraqi special forces found tens of weapons in the IS arms depots after the Iraqi military recaptured the town Ramadi, a former stronghold of the IS.

An older CAR report suggests that IS is very likely to widely use the Czech arms.

An analysis of the magazines the investigators found in the battlefields in Syria and Iraq has revealed that the Czech arms are the 12th most used weapons there, MfD writes.

However, CAR investigators also found further 7.62mm submachines in the illegal arms market in the Somali capital Mogadishu where the Islamist al-Shabaab militants want to take over, it adds.

It is not clear how the weapons have reached the Islamists. The Foreign Ministry has turned to the Ceska zbrojovka (CZ) arms maker. The CZ found out in its archives thanks to the serial numbers that it had produced the weapons between 1960 and 1980 and delivered them to the Czechoslovak military.

According to the registry of the Defence Ministry, they were bought by private dealers after 1989.

Last year, Katerina Sequensova, director of the Foreign Ministry’s Common Foreign and Security Policy Department, sent them a letter asking them to provide it with the information on which of the cited arms they exported from the Czech Republic or to what Czech company they had sold them, MfD writes.

Referring to confidentiality, the Foreign Ministry does not want to publish which of them “confessed” to the deals, it adds.

On the other hand, the Foreign Ministry stresses that the Czech Republic has a very good control of its arms exports, MfD writes.

“The questions from the CAR only relate to a minor number of old weapons produced before 1990. The fact itself illustrates the efficient control of exports of military materiel from the Czech Republic,” Irena Valentova, from the Foreign Ministry press department, said.

However, just the old weapons, described as redundant, flow in large numbers from the Czech Republic, MfD writes.

While they are hopelessly obsolete for modern militaries, due to the many wars in the Middle East their price rises, it adds.

Last year alone, the Czech Republic permitted the export of arms and military materiel for 1.6 billion crowns.

In past years, the Czech government also donated thousands of submachines and much ammunition to the Iraqi military and Kurds, MfD writes.

The Czech Investigative Journalism Centre has also warned that Czechs and Slovaks deliver their arms worth billions of crowns to the wars in Syria and Yemen although the foreign, and industry and trade ministries did not permit the deals, MfD writes.

Officially, Saudi Arabia may be their recipient, but it has no use for the Czech obsolete weapons, MfD writes, referring to the documents posted online on the webpage

Other Czech arms reached Syrian rebels via the USA, MfD writes.

Transparency International ()TI warns that in such deals there is the risk that a part of the arms will end up in the hands of IS, it adds.

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