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FARC guerillas armed with Swedish weapons

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 27 Jul 2009, 10:42

Published: 27 Jul 2009 10:42 GMT+02:00

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The anti-tank AT-4 weapons have been sold to countries such as the USA and a raft of NATO member states, as well Colombian neighbour Venezuela.

It was in connection with Colombian army raids on the FARC guerilla bases in July and October 2008 that the Swedish-made weapons were discovered, the newspaper reports.

The Colombian government then contacted Saab Bofors who could confirm that the weapons had originally been sold to the Venezuelan army.

"It is extremely unfortunate that this has occurred, although this is out of our control. Our client is the Venezuelan army. Saab always acts in accordance with Swedish law and international regulations regarding the sale of defence materials," a representative for the Swedish firm is quoted by the newspaper as saying.

How the state of the art weapons fell into the hands of the FARC remains a mystery as the Venezualan government, despite promising the Colombian government to look into the issue, has not yet been able to shed light on the circumstances.

Story continues below…

Semana maintains that there are strong grounds to suspect that two generals, who are part of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez's inner circle, have provided the Farc with the Swedish weapons.

The AT-4 weapons are described as one of the world's most advanced anti-tank weapons, easy to carry, easy to use and very effective.

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:24 July 27, 2009 by Nemesis
Sounds like Bofors has a very good sales team.

A suggestion, grind made in Sweden of the weapons before you sell them.
12:37 July 27, 2009 by Thebinary1
Easier options are:

- grind the contract with the Venezuelan army

- embed a remote-disabling routine into the weapon that is not informed to the customers ..... I mean Windows / Microsoft does this so why shouldn't weapons?
12:39 July 27, 2009 by peropaco
Sweden is a neutral nation yet somehow it always manage to make a buck out of war/conflict. They made deals with the Nazi, FARC and who knows if they are not getting a piece of the cake in Iran, Lebanon, PA etc.
12:53 July 27, 2009 by juanman79
The double-morality of these "good industries" is astonishing... Yes, of course, it is not their fault that they manufacture weapons that are ultimately used to kill PEOPLE. And then we see the "self-righteous people" complaining about the influx of immigrants trying to scape from these war-torn countries... This is a very sad situation. No control whatsoever over the weapons sold... I think it is immoral to profit from suffering!
13:02 July 27, 2009 by Bra_billie_boy
I wonder how long we have before terrorists start attacking the Swedish state with Swedish weaponry. I will not be surprised if tomorrow's newspaper carries the headline 'NATO forces attack an Al-Qaeda hideout in Afghanistan and discover massive stockpile of advanced Swedish weapons'.

It is so very unfortunate. We are the ones responsible for our own problems. There's no else to blame for it.
13:12 July 27, 2009 by Eye_Witness
@ Bra_billie_boy... why Al-Qaida bother to get Swedish made weapons when USA has already equipped them with more sophisticated one.
13:16 July 27, 2009 by Atlas
Look people, its to early to judge the Saab Bofors. They just sold it to Venezuela as all other manufacturers do. You can't go and blame them for how their clients use their weapons. You can't really foresee how they will be used in the future and by whom.

Of course, you can blame Saab Bofors only if they continue selling them to clients who have a history of missusing them, but not before.

It's easy to point fingers, but i bet that if any of you was in that sales team, you would have jumped to joy for concluding a sale...Try to see it from a different perspective...
13:31 July 27, 2009 by juanman79
Weapons kill people... that is their one and only use... Both the users and the sellers are responsible for their ultimate purpose.
13:33 July 27, 2009 by A.I.
Dont we know that already ? wasnt there another conspiracy a few years back of saab selling arms to nigeria undercover.
14:03 July 27, 2009 by BillyB
Shock horror 1: weapons used in a battle

Shock horror 2: someone sold weapons

Shock horror 3: someone profited from selling arms

14:10 July 27, 2009 by bocale1
It is not that difficult to imagine that weapons that are built with the obvious target of killing people are finally provided to people that kill people. I haven´t never heard about weapons sold to monks in sanctuaries!

But since our richness is also due to money coming from that industry, we should just worry to keep wars as far as possible from our borders.

What difference does if a weapon is used by FARC or by any of the hundreds clans that kill thousands of people daily in center Africa?
14:39 July 27, 2009 by Weekend_warrior
I would bet that the weapons ended up exactly where they are supposed to be.

Thing is, like any major playing country dealing arms, they cannot always be seen giving their weapons to certain parties. The only problem here, is some schmuck screwed up, and it went public.

Keep drinking your coke, play on your iphone (or any mobile), enjoy your internet, 3 meals a day, television, computers, you name it. Because maybe you all don't realize, but it would take the resources of 3-5 Earths for the entire world to live like Europe and the United States (Canada included).

So come join in for a little Call of Duty on xbox360 and smile :)
15:01 July 27, 2009 by bolababu
considering personal experience, i think weekend-warrior hit the nail on the head. Venezuela was just a cover, the final consumer was the FARC and saab was bound by law and moral obligation not to be seen dealing with rebels.

same thing happening in Nigerian Niger-Delta right now.
15:09 July 27, 2009 by Aussie_Downunder
'despite promising the Colombian government to look into the issue'

hahah ye right, the Venezualan government's promise.

I'm sure it's on the top of their 'to do' list.

I'm with BillyB on this one.

15:29 July 27, 2009 by kris09
This is not a surprise!many EU and USA countries are doing the same business in countries of war.

selling to both rivals and make the conflict prolonged while prettending beeing peace keepers and creating jobs for their NGOs....(eg..its happening in countries like somalia,eastern DR.Congo,Sudan,Uganda,etc).where do all these rebels purchase their weapons?of course from the manufacturers.

But they 4get how many millions of innocent people are affected due to their selfish intrerests.....and when refugees imerge in their countries,they deny them.

Its so sad!!!
16:01 July 27, 2009 by Staffs
Misuse of weapons, ha ha ha, it's the way you tell 'em.

One use only, to destroy life and equipment, regardless of who is using them.
16:26 July 27, 2009 by BlackfDes

This is my theory:

A Venezuelan first division soccer team is sponsored by the Venezuelan Army but want to transfer in a Colombian first division soccer player from a team sponsored by the political wing of FARC (FARC ME).

The army is a little cash strapped at the moment so it uses the rockets to seal the deal.

Whats the problem??


The Black One
17:42 July 27, 2009 by Colombiandude
Atlas, you are not selling weapons to Switzerland or Norway, you are selling them to VENEZUELA! It is almost the same as selling weapons to Iran or North Korea. Obviously, Saab should be hold responsible for making deals with such states. Funny to see some europeans blaming others for the world's misfortune while their noses are stuffed with "white powder"
18:50 July 27, 2009 by peacelover
A similar case happend when Pakistani Army recovered Swedish snipper guns from Taliban insurgents infiltrating from Afghanistan in to pakistan. Why dont these companies act more responsibly just saying "It is extremely unfortunate that this has occurred, although this is out of our control" is not enough.
18:57 July 27, 2009 by Ugly But Lovely
I thought Sweden only makes Saab Volvo, but did not know this , that many people are dying in war by Swedish made weapons, that means Sweden is also fueling the war and support war criminals. yup of course to sell their deadly weapons.
18:14 July 28, 2009 by nic_tester
Damn good weapons thou Very handy. Got to know its predecessor when i did my ms.

06:16 July 29, 2009 by redlar
I always thought Bush made a big mistake in attacking Iraq. I thought we should have been selling weapons to Iraq and Iran like the EU was doing. Start a little spat and they would have been shooting at each other. Bush screwed up the EU plan of making a pile of money arming both sides, no wonder they didn't like his ideas. The Europeans have it right, just sell weapons to everyone and try to stay out of the fight. And I thought we were suppose to be the capitalist (well, until recently anyway).
12:32 July 29, 2009 by nic_tester
Dont hear you complaining when we sell to the US
19:25 July 29, 2009 by miloidrr
Never in the life, I want to that the sweden nation feel just a little part of pain that Colombia are suffering, just Think about this, this is a critical situation
10:18 August 1, 2009 by 4xxxx
I have been censored!!! obviously one is not aloud to write the truth in The Local!!!!
11:31 August 1, 2009 by jack sprat
Amazing how "neutral" Sweden seems to get itself involved in conflicts in all parts of the Globe...Indirectly of course...

Just makes the bullets and lets the whole world and his wife fire them.

Ah well its good business I suppose in these difficult times...
12:12 August 1, 2009 by Mzungu
You have just been awarded TL's gold medal,for being first to be edited on your premier post...

09:33 August 3, 2009 by 4xxxx
Thank you Muzungu. I was referring to a certain (Neutral) country that in the past made a lot of money from both opposing sides in a conflict. For many years it was spend, spend ,spend. Unfortunately the money ran out and as happens in those countries the pour get poorer but as they say in that country. Det hända inta i Sverige!!

It is a shame freedom of speech doesn't allow one to write the truth.
14:49 August 11, 2009 by rumcajs
Those weapons were sold to venezuala in the 80's, which means they are not that advanced. I am Colombian and I think Semana is (as well of most of colombian media)working to keep colombians in that kind of obsesion with venezuela and Chavez as that obsesion makes them somehow vote for the colombian dict.. sorry, president again and again. That's the only explanation I can find why someone would call advanced something that was made in the 80's.
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