Weapons inspectors discover another potentially dangerous munitions storage site on Czech territory

Munitions depot in Slatina, photo: CTK

Just four months after a devastating explosion damaged the munitions depot in Vrbětice, south Moravia, inspectors have found another potentially dangerous storage site. A storage facility on the grounds of a former agrarian cooperative in Slatina, north of Brno, was found to contain hundreds of tons of unregistered munition, including the lethal Czech made-explosive Semtex.

Munitions depot in Slatina, photo: CTK
Speculation that the Vrbětice munitions depot might not be the only potentially dangerous munitions storage site in the country has proved justified. On a visit to a munitions depot in Slatina, in the Pardubice region, inspectors reported an alarming find – instead of the six tons of munition that was registered by the private company Multiagro, the site contained hundreds of tons of munition stored in a haphazard manner, including nine pallets of the Czech made plastic explosive Semtex, which the firm vehemently denied was there.

The site was immediately closed off as the police launched an investigation on the grounds of suspected illegal armament and a threat to public safety. The governor of the Pardubice region Martin Netolický who was present at the site has expressed grave concern over the findings.

“This has been a joint inspection by law-enforcement officials and I can confirm that Semtex was found on the grounds. As governor of the Pardubice region I want it removed as soon as possible and I am hoping that this incident will lead our lawmakers to enact a change of legislation.”

Martin Netolický, photo: CTK
According to the governor, the Multiagro company was supposed to have 6 tons of munition stored in two small buildings. The search by police, weapons inspectors and explosives experts, at which he was present, revealed hundreds of tons of munition stored in about ten buildings. The plastic explosive Semtex was stacked in a former cow shed. Moreover, the site of the former agrarian coop was not even fenced in, seriously increasing the risk of an accident. The governor says that he will not for the time being call a meeting of the regional security council since the authorities have the matter in hand but he says he will be monitoring developments carefully and expects to see the munition removed as soon as possible.

At present inspection work on the site continues and officials predict it may be several days if not weeks before the munition can be transported to a site monitored by the army. The town of Slatina and nearby villages can speak of great good fortune that this site was discovered before a fire or an intruder could unsuspectingly set off a devastating series of explosions. But the question everyone is now asking themselves is how many more such sites may exist on the territory of the Czech Republic.