DN - Defence Notes

Bulgaria sends 200,000 landmines back to Greece

22nd November 2018 - 09:58 GMT | by ​Agence France-Presse in Sofia

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The Bulgarian government said on 21 November it has shipped back to Greece nearly 200,000 landmines that have been waiting to be destroyed since an explosion ripped through the plant where they were stored four years ago.

‘Bulgaria completed the transportation to Greece of 190,570 landmines from the plant near Gorni Lom,’ the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Greece had contracted a private Bulgarian firm to destroy a total of 1.5 million landmines at the plant, but an explosion in the factory on 1 October 2014 resulted in death of 15 people.

The privately-owned plant was then stripped of its licence to decommission the remaining landmines.

Bulgaria's arms industry, which flourished during communism, was largely privatised in the 1990s.

But many of the new owners had neither the necessary know-how nor the financial means to invest in safety and accidents, sometimes deadly, were frequent.

At the plant in Gorni Lom itself, six workers were also injured in explosions in 2007 and 2010.

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