Defence minister admits “there may have been no munitions heist” after all

The Tancos munitions heist has gone from a theft of international importance to “possibly nothing at all”.

Portugal’s opposition politicians delighted this week in the admission by Defence Minister Azeredo Lopes that possibly the Tancos heist reported in June wasn’t a really a heist.

All that is certain is that munitions capable of launching a small war “no longer exist” and no one appears to know what to do next.

The possibility that the list of munitions could have been fictitious to start with – along the same lines as food supplies purchased by the Air Force (click here) – is fast approaching.

Meantime, calls for the dismissal of Azeredo Lopes have intensified, on the basis that a Defence Minister with such a loose grip on explosive military hardware can only be a liability.

To recap on the material said to be in question, and (possibly) removed to locations unknown, this is the list published by the BBC:

● 1,450 9mm ammunition cartridges
● 150 hand grenades
● 44 anti-tank grenades
● 18 tear gas grenades
● 102 explosive charges
● 264 pieces of plastic explosive

Spain’s El Español published a much-more detailed list ahead of the British news provider, and the Spanish media in general lampooned the incident, painting a picture of military security in which soldiers keep away from watchtowers at Tancos’ base because they are all “in danger of collapsing”.

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