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Local News Summary of December, 25th

  • Parked cars severely damaged in Ormalingen: Witnesses sought
  • Basel company suspected of shipping ammunition to Iraq in 2004
  • Driver injured in accident

Parked cars severely damaged in Ormalingen: Witnesses sought

The Baselland police are looking for witnesses after several cars were vandalised at Maloyaring in Ormalinge on Friday night.

According to an ongoing police investigation, the bodywork of 10 cars was damaged, several windows were smashed and wing mirrors were ripped off. A trailer was also damaged.

Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the “Maloya” industrial area on Friday night is asked to contact the central office of Baselland police in Liestal under the phone number 061 553 35 35.

Basel company suspected of shipping ammunition to Iraq in 2004

The state secretariat for economic affairs (Seco) has begun an investigation into a former Basel company accused of shipping war materials to Iraq without authorisation. The ammunition in question had been produced in Serbia.

The Seco will submit its report to the Federal public prosecution office, a Seco spokesperson on Sunday told the media agency, sda, which confirmed claims made in the “SonntagsZeitung” newspaper. According to the Seco, Tradewell AG from Basel did not have general authorisation for trading or shipping war materials. There is also no special authorisation for this.

Tradewell AG (which was deleted from the commercial register 7 years ago) is accused of having shipped ammunition from Serbia to Iraq together with a US company at the end of 2004. The recent report “Weapons of the Islamic State” by the British organisation Conflict Armament Research (CAR) revealed the transaction.

Ammunition for Iraqi security forces

According to this report, 5 million bullets for Iraqi security forces had been ordered. The bullets had been produced in Serbia, the official import and export documents state. The two companies had received the authorisation to procure and ship the ammunition by the interim Iraqi government in 2004.

Consequently, a British organisation had been authorised to buy the material and organise a shipment to Baghdad, the CAR report reveals. A statement by the Serbian authorities (quoted in the report) claims that the shipment had been part of the struggle of international forces to provide backup for the Iraqi central government.

Role of Tradewell unclear

In its letter to the Federal public prosecution, the Seco relies on the CAR report as well as its own documents, the spokesperson added. The report does not point out clearly how the shipment of ammunition from Serbia to the Iraqi security forces had been organised in detail and which part Tradewell had played in the transaction.

Therefore, the Seco states that it cannot draw a definite conclusion of whether the Swiss company Tradewell AG had shipped war material to a recipient abroad or if it had traded war materials outside of Switzerland. The legal consequences of violations of war material law are presided over in the Federal Criminal Court.

The CAR report is the result of an analysis about the supply chain of the Islamic State (IS), which took more than three years. Researchers documented more than 40,000 guns and ammunition parts in Iraq and in Syria and investigated their sources. The Islamic State purportedly captured the ammunition that came from Serbia in battles with the Iraqi army.

Driver injured in accident

A driver was injured in an accident which happened when he lost control of his car on Saturday night in Läufelfingen.

According to current investigations by Baselland police, the 32-year-old was travelling along the Hauptstrasse towards Buckten at around midnight when the accident happened. Shortly after leaving Läufelfingen, the man drove too far on the right side of the road for reasons still unknown and consequently collided head-on with a rock face.

The driver was injured in the crash and had to be taken to a hospital by paramedics. The car was completely written-off and had to be removed from the scene by a towing service.