Kiwi arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle bayonets out of Bosnia

Author
Kurt Bayer for NZ Herald,
Section
Crime,
Publish Date
Saturday, 5 August 2017, 7:48PM
The bayonets and ammunition. (Supplied)
The bayonets and ammunition. (Supplied)

A New Zealander has been arrested in Sarajevo after allegedly trying to smuggle bayonets and military equipment out of the Bosnian capital.

The 30-year-old man bound for Dubai was arrested on July 12 and taken into custody.

It's alleged that as his luggage went through a walk-through metal detector at Sarajevo International Airport, also known as Butmir Airport - the main international airport in Bosnia and Herzegovina - biodiversity protection unit officers and members of the security service found 24 bayonets, a bandoleer for 7.9mm ammunition, and a box for carrying a machine gun spare barrel.

Bosnian police have only identified the man, who they say is a New Zealand citizen, by the initials E.M.R.F.

New Zealand's Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) says it is aware of reports of the man's arrest but has received no requests for consular assistance.

He was detained on the grounds that he committed a criminal offence in "illicit trade in weapons and military equipment and dual use products".

The man was handed over to the Bosnia and Herzegovina Prosecutor's Office.

The Balkan region was ravaged by civil wars throughout the 1990s and have been struggling to end stem the flow of illegal international arms trafficking ever since.

The terrorists behind the deadly assault on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices and November 13, 2015 terror attacks in Paris, which claimed 130 victims, were linked to weapons that were tracked back to the Western Balkans - an area linked to extremists fighting for Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

- additional reporting Ivo Scepanovic ​

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