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Swedish weapons used in Burmese fighting

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11:17 CET+01:00
Burmese rebels have gained access to Swedish-designed weapons after government forces reportedly left them behind following conflict in the mountains of the country's far north.

Photographs surfaced of rebels from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) with six Swedish recoilless antitank rifles – the “Carl Gustav” – after government forces left them behind, according to the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper (SvD).

Saab Bofors Dynamics, which manufactured the weapons, has reported the incident to the the Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls (Inspektionen för Strategiska Produkter, ISP)

“After seeing the pictures we have reported the matter to the responsible authorities, the ISP, which handles these questions,” Sebastian Carlsson, spokesman for Saab, told SvD.

“We're taking it seriously that our products have ended up in Burma.”

The Carl Gustav was first developed in 1947 and introduced into Swedish service in 1948. It has since been sold in at least 40 countries and has featured in conflicts such as the Falklands War and Afghanistan.

Now, Burmese officials are asking Sweden to investigate.

“We urge the Swedish government to investigate how these Swedish weapons ended up in the hands of the Burmese Army,” Zawng Hra, chairman of the Burmese political organization Kachin Independence Organization, told the paper.

In 1996, the EU countries were forbidden from exporting weapons to Burma, a law that remains today and applies to Sweden.

TT/The Local/og

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