A large number of German assault rifles were discovered in the Tripoli residence of fugitive Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi when rebels stormed it last week although the German government had given no approval for such weapons to be sold to his regime, media reports said on Wednesday.
The rifles were G36s, the standard weapons for German troops, the Stuttgarter Nachrichten newspaper and ARD television network reported. They were G36 KV models, made with a shortened barrel for special forces, the reports said.
The exact number of the weapons found, how, when and from whom they were delivered remained unclear, but the reports said they were produced by Germany's small-arms maker Heckler & Koch GmbH.
“We deny that these weapons were supplied to Libya from Heckler & Koch,” the company told Stuttgarter Nachrichten.
The German Finance Ministry told the newspaper and ARD that no permission had been given for the export of the rifles to Libya. “The government has at this time no firm knowledge of a potential deployment of G36 weapons in Libya,” it was quoted as saying.
Juergen Graesslin, an activist who opposes the arms trade, charged, however, that “there is reasonable suspicion that Heckler & Koch or intermediaries illegally supplied large numbers of G36s to the Gaddafi regime.”
He told the newspaper he wants prosecutors to look into the matter.
“It all stinks to high heaven,” a member of parliament for the Greens, Hans-Christian Stroebele, told the newspaper. “Someone must have done something incompatible with German law.” - Sapa-dpa