Tancos explosives heist: Costa calls meeting with military top brass

Back from a week’s holiday with national media predicting that Portugal’s minister of defence will be ‘gone within days”, prime minister António Costa has called a meeting of military top brass for Tuesday at 5pm at his official residence in São Bento.

On the table will be the “safety of military installations” throughout the country.

Since the embarrassment of the Tancos explosives heist last month, the issue has been the subject of satire in both national and Spanish media (click here).

But it is far from funny.

Counter terrorism police are still on the trail of the cache which commentators have said “included enough military hardware to launch a major terrorist attack” (click here).

According to Lusa, the Attorney General’s office has opened an inquiry into the issue, centring on suspicions of the “practice of criminal association, international arms trafficking and international terrorism”.

An army probe is also on the case – belief being that Tancos was “an inside job” which had been months in the planning.

Expresso has run with the theory that a group of former military ‘special forces’ were behind the theft, contracted by ‘an international criminal organisation’.

A lot more will doubtless emerge, but for now Costa has ostensibly organised the meeting with the heads of the Army, Navy and Airforce – as well as purportedly outgoing defence minister Azeredo Lopes – to touch base on where the country stands on the safety of military installations that have been hammered by spending cuts over the last few years.

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