Latvija in brief - 2008-11-19

  • 2008-11-19
Police have made a new arrest in a large-scale case over arms storage and dealing in Latvia's military armed forces. Three servicemen have been detained. So far, five civilians and three soldiers have been held in connection with the case. Of these, one soldier and one civilian have been placed under arrest. On Oct. 21, police along with the Military Intelligence and Security Service detained four men suspected of purchasing, storing and selling firearms, ammunition and explosives. During the searches conducted at the suspects' homes, police seized seven firearms, about 3,500 cartridges and more than 100 detonators, 19 grenades, as well as four kilos of explosives. After the discovery of arms storage and dealing in the military, Latvian Defense Minister Vinets Veldre ordered an in-depth probe into the stock keeping of weapons and ammunition in the National Armed Forces. Defense Ministry PR head Airis Rikveilis said earlier that some of the seized ammunition was probably stolen from the NAF arsenal, but that this will be examined in the inquiry.

Latvian National Armed Forces Commander Juris Maklakovs has said that he is deeply worried about the problem of gambling in the military. Maklakovs told BNS that he had information suggesting that there are widespread problems with gambling in the armed forces. He said however, that the problem affected the whole society -- not just the armed forces. To eradicate this issue in the military it is necessary to pay increased attention to communication with personnel and improving personnel management, he said. He admitted that the recent suicides in the armed forces could partly be attributed to gambling issues.

Latvia's First Party/Latvia's Way (LPP/LC), a partner in Latvia's ruling coalition, has lost its only representative in the European Parliament. MEP Georgs Andrejevs has decided to quit the party, reported Latvia's Diena daily. Latvian Transport Minister Ainars Slesers, one of LPP/LC leaders, said Andrejevs had been talking about his intentions to leave active politics for some time, and that now the main task was to pick strong candidates for next year's European Parliament elections. Confirming to the daily his decision to terminate membership in LPP/LC, Andrejevs said that the merger of his Latvia's Way party with LPP had caused him serious concern, saying that "this is no longer the party that we once created."