A local Prosecutor General’s Office in north Germany is investigating gun shipments to Colombia that violated laws banning the sale of weapons to states with active armed conflicts or poor human rights records, according to German media.
Germany’s Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) has suspended all pending requests for export licenses by German arms manufacturer Sig Sauer, following reports that thousands of handguns made by the company found their way into the hands of Colombia’s National Police force.
Recently, it was revealed that as many as 65,000 Sauer pistols were being put to use by Colombian police, despite German sanctions that would prohibit the sale of arms to the National Police, due to the institution’s troubling human rights legacy and the country’s ongoing armed conflict.
The investigation now extends to the SSG-3000 rifle, 500 of which are allegedly in the hands of Colombia’s police, according to Colombia’s W Radio.
The weapons were imported in 2006, when President Juan Manuel Santos, then the minister of defense, authorized an upgrade for the Colombian police.
Over 100,000 arms were purchased from the United States as part of the deal, many of which were resold from Sig Sauer partners in the United States with US identification numbers, according to the company.
According to Colombia’s W Radio, the majority of the arms in question are made and assembled in Germany, while the plastic finish is done in the United States.
If US companies or the State Department did in fact allow the export of German weapons to Colombia, it would have been in direct violation of commitments with Sig Sauer and the German government.
Colombian authorities have already asked that the United States investigate the matter, and German officials in the northern German city of Kiel are conducting an investigation. In the meantime, Sig Sauer will not be granted any new exporting licenses by the BAFA, according to W Radio.