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Africa

Senior airport security officer arrested over suspect package

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-11-20

An airport security officer in Namibia was arrested Saturday in connection with a suspicious package found at Windhoek airport that sparked an international security alert. The Munich-bound parcel turned out to be a fake used in security checks.

AFP - A senior officer in Namibia's airport police has been arrested over the discovery of a suspect package at Windhoek airport that sparked an international alert, police said Saturday.
   
"The arrested man is a high ranking officer at the airport in the police aviation security unit," Namibia's police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga told reporters.
   
"We don't know yet if that police officer was working alone or in cooperation with other people. We cannot reveal his name yet because he has not yet appeared in court. He will appear in court on Monday," he said.
   
"We are still trying to establish the motive behind this," he said.
   
The suspect parcel that was to be put on a Munich-bound charter plane was a harmless US-made dummy used to test security checks, Germany's interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said Friday.
   
"Putting the parcel there was definitely not a police operation. The  suspect operated only for his own reasons," Ndeitunga said.
   
"We informed the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and the German police about the arrest and we are regularly updating them on further developments," he said.
   
"We held a meeting today with German federal police officers who were sent from Germany to Namibia. After the meeting, they are now returning back home. They have left Namibia already," Ndeitunga added.
   
German federal police said Thursday that the suspicious item, a laptop bag wrapped in plastic, had been seized by Namibian police and that a subsequent X-ray revealed batteries that were attached with wires to a "detonator" and a ticking clock.
   
The Air Berlin plane with 296 passengers and 10 crew members on board was delayed six hours before being cleared for take-off to Munich, where it later arrived safely.
   
The find sparked a probe into whether the bag contained live explosives, one day after De Maiziere said that the security services had received a tip from a "foreign partner" about an attack planned in Germany in the next two weeks.
   
The German government dispatched heavily armed officers at rail stations, airports and other public spaces and stepped up other security measures in the wake of the discovery.

 

Date created : 2010-11-20

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