Latest update: 18/11/2010
Germany-bound suspect package intercepted in Namibia
Namibian police have discovered a suspect laptop amongst luggage bound for Munich just a day after terrorism intelligence forced Germany to tighten security at airports and train stations. A terrorist attack on the country was said to be imminent.
REUTERS - Namibian police found a suspect package at Windhoek airport in routine security checks for a German tourist flight to Munich, Namibian and German authorities said on Thursday.
German authorities, who stepped up security at airports and train stations on Wednesday on intelligence that Islamist militants were planning attacks in the next two weeks, sent police to Namibia to help with an investigation.
The Windhoek airport operators said 296 passengers and 10 crew disembarked from an Air Berlin plane and the luggage and cargo was unloaded for security checks after a suspicious parcel was discovered on Wednesday at the luggage screening point.
One German source said the package may have carried a label indicating it was a security test. Police in Namibia, a former German colony neighbouring South Africa with a population of around two million, would not confirm or deny that the suspect package contained explosives or whether it was a test.
"We will communicate the outcomes of the investigation to the public as soon as it is finished," said Namibian police inspector Jay Nangolo.
Mia Davids, a public relations officer for the Namibian Airports Company, said the incident was being taken seriously. "It wasn't a drill."
Police in Windhoek declined to comment on information given by German federal police that the package contained a detonator, batteries and a running clock, though German police also said it was not clear if contained primed explosives.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who warned on Wednesday that the country faced a heightened risk of attacks by Islamist militants, said intelligence indicated the luggage was to be transported onto a plane which was to fly to Munich.
Karl Peter Bruch, interior minister of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, said many of Germany's major cities were at risk, with "concrete indications" of threats to Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and cities of the Ruhr area.
The Namibia Airports Company said the cargo from the Air Berlin flight had stayed in Namibia pending the investigation.
Namibian police deputy inspector general Vilio Hifindaka said the package was found in routine X-ray screening but he declined to confirm or deny that it contained explosives.
Air Berlin, Germany's second biggest airline, said the flight arrived in Germany with a six-hour delay.
"The passengers on the flight, the luggage and the aircraft itself underwent further controls before take off and arrived safely in Munich overnight," said the German police statement.