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Namibia 'bomb' was only a security test
Armed police patrol the main train station in Düsseldorf. Photo: DPA

Namibia 'bomb' was only a security test

Published: 19 Nov 2010 07:31 GMT+01:00
Updated: 19 Nov 2010 17:54 GMT+01:00

A suspected bomb intercepted in Namibia that was to be put on a Munich-bound charter plane was only a US-made dummy used to test security checks, Germany's interior minister said Friday.

"Experts from the (German) federal police force examined the luggage on site," Thomas de Maizière told reporters after a meeting of interior ministers from Germany's 16 states.

"The outcome is that the luggage turned out to be a so-called real test suitcase made by a company in the United States. This company is a manufacturer of alarm and detection systems and these real test suitcases are built to test security measures."

De Maizière did not say precisely who planted the dummy. It was being checked “when and to whom the bag was sold.”

He said he thought it was ''highly unlikely'' that German security forces were involved in the test, though this was being investigated. It remains unclear why the incident was allowed to turn into a full-scale terrorism scare.

"The important thing for all of us is that no explosives were found in the luggage and that, as far as we know at this point in the investigation, there was at no point a danger to passengers posed by this luggage," he said.

Namibian police said neither the US government nor the German or Namibian governments were behind the security test.

"It will be determined who deposited it. The governments of US, Germany and Namibia were not aware of the parcel," police inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga told reporters.

"It is devoid of truth that the US government put the device there to test how good the Namibian security is."

The laptop bag seized at the airport of the Namibian capital Windhoek on Wednesday morning contained no explosives, though it did consist of batteries connected by wire to a working clock. The discovery caused a major security scare and forced authorities to conduct further security checks on the Air Berlin flight to Munich, delaying the flight for about six hours.

Germany nevertheless remains on high alert because of the threat of an attack. The head of the Federal Police, Matthias Seeger, said the risk of attack was greater than ever before.

“On a scale of one – meaning no danger – to 10 – meaning an acute danger – we are at the moment around nine,” he told Friday’s edition of daily Bild.

Heightened security measures are likely to be maintained at least until the end of the year.

“Security authorities are prepared for the state of emergency to go on at least until the end of the year,” police union chief Rainer Wendt told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

Holidays and free days for December have already been cancelled for police in many parts of the country.

De Maizière raised the threat level for Germany on Wednesday, warning that there were “concrete” indications of a planned attack around the end of November.

Heavily armed police are now patrolling airports, train stations and busy public areas.

An ICE train was stopped and evacuated at the main train station of Düsseldorf on Friday because of a suspicious item. A Federal Police spokesman said passengers on the ICE 609 from Kiel to Basel in Switzerland noticed the item which seemed to them to be out of place.

The train was stopped at Düsseldorf station and about 230 passengers evacuated. Bomb experts examined the item and gave it the all-clear, whereupon the train continued its journey.

“The anti-terror warning is being taken seriously,” the police spokesman said.

Also Friday, a platform at Hannover's main train station was evacuated because of a suspicious plastic bag, a police spokesman said.

AFP/DPA/The Local/dw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:50 November 19, 2010 by catjones
*speculated that US or African authorities may have been behind the dummy. There was no evidence German authorities were involved,*

When you speculate, that's the same as having no evidence.
11:21 November 19, 2010 by mixxim
Good test. What would have happened if it had not been found? Next time try a live one!
14:38 November 19, 2010 by XFYRCHIEF
@catjones - where did you come up with that quote? Its not in the article.

@South Arican - how did you arrive at the conclusion that the US did this?

Oh, I forgot, anytime anything, anywhere happens that is bad, just blame it on the Americans.
15:05 November 19, 2010 by derExDeutsche
@ HEM

Bravo! However, it does not change the fact that blame will be placed if a real event were to transpire. You can't blame anybody for showing up to work. not the Security that found the bomb, not the Govt. that released a warning, and not the media who report it. ie. theLocal is not complicit with Terrorists because it publishes a developing story about a non-bomb on an Airplane. Even if it does show up on Drudge.
16:08 November 19, 2010 by XFYRCHIEF
Once again, the way things are stated leads to misunderstandings. "...a U. S. made dummy..." No, it was NOT a "U. S. made" dummy. It was a dummy made by a company located in the U. S. It could have just as easily been made in Germany. If the intent is to imply that the United States was responsible, then where is the proof? Since the terror concern ("...around nine.") right now is focused on Germany, which country would have the most to gain - politically - by getting a fake bomb on board an aircraft bound for Germany? For those who argue that it was an American operation to garner support for the TSA's controversial screening, that's crazy. The "bomb" was in a suitcase, not someone's underpants.
17:13 November 19, 2010 by SockRayBlue
It would have been better to detect the device and get rid of it ...quietly. Why broadcast these things to the world?
17:41 November 19, 2010 by auniquecorn
Well sh!t, Now we´re gonna get hit with a Fake Bomb security test tax.
17:47 November 19, 2010 by duckys
hey....

that makes me wonder why we dont have a terrorism tax yet...
17:54 November 19, 2010 by CoolBlueIce
I hope my friends in Germany enjoyed our (USA) little early April Fool's Joke...

Got cha! You've been punked!
20:22 November 19, 2010 by wxman
@South African,

1) If you tell them in advance, it's a compromised test and will reveal nothing.

2) If you do it, of course you'll be arrested. You aren't a security official tasked with protecting the flying public.
20:44 November 19, 2010 by Johnne
@catjones,

They mentioned the US and "Namibian" Authoritiies not African. I think you should know that Africa is a continent and Namibia is a country in Africa, ok?
01:07 November 20, 2010 by Frenemy
@XFYRCHIEF: Exactly! "made in" and "made by" are to very different things. And simply stating "a US made bomb" is bound to lead to misunderstandings.

...unless the whole point was to stir up confusion and mistrust ;-)
02:14 November 20, 2010 by MonkeyMania
So does this get a "Sehr Gut" in the "Stiftung Warentest" on "test.de"?
09:46 November 20, 2010 by wood artist
There is still one thing here that truly puzzles me.

It has been widely reported that the bag didn't have any tags or labels on it, no identification, and no one claimed it. If that is true, why were they trying to put in on the plane in the first place?

I can understand them screening the bag if it was abandoned, but according to what I've read, they were going to put it on a specific plane. Why? That part still doesn't make sense.

wa
15:11 November 22, 2010 by DOZ
Not hard to figure it as a fake. No explosives. If it contained an explosive, it would be traceable, since all manufactured explosives have a Chemical Signature that allow it's path to be traced. I suspect that it was a ploy to reduced dissention to NATO's Afghanistan Mission Extension.
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