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16 September 1999 Edition

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Illegal British Army guns seized

BRITISH SOLDIERS stationed at one of the North's biggest military bases had a secret cache of AK-47 assault rifles stashed illegally in their quarters, it has been disclosed.

The rifles, smuggled into Ireland from the Gulf by members of the Scots Guards who captured them from the defeated Iraqi Army, were found in Ballykinlar Camp in County Down during a routine search over two months ago.

The illegal arms cache is thought to include an Iraqi rocket mounted on a wall in the regiment's headquarters and a number of AK-47s in full working order. This was denied by a British Army spokesperson who confirmed the find.

In 1990, the Ballykinlar base was at the centre of allegations of collusion between locally-recruited members of the Royal Irish Regiment, which absorbed the Ulster Defence Regiment in the late 1980s, and loyalist murder gangs.
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