Tue, Jan 17, 2006
Russian Aircraft Turn Up In Togo
Since the break-up of
the Soviet Union -- and the resulting cash crunch in most if not
all of the former republics -- powerful Soviet-made weapons have
been showing up in the darndest places. The latest... the tiny
African nation of Togo.
The Chinese news agency Xinhua reports authorities in Togo have,
over the past few weeks, confiscated two MiG-23s (file photo,
below) and two Mi-8 combat helicopters... and have traced them to a
former French gendarme named Robert Montoya.
Is he a collector? Is he an arms smuggler? Togolese authorities
are inclined to believe the latter, hinting that they suspect
Montoya was trying to smuggle the aircraft into nearby Ivory Coast
-- which has been ripped apart by civil war since a failed coup in
The UN has imposed an arms embargo on the Ivory Coast since
2004. The aircraft were discovered on the ramp at the airport in
Montoya owns a number of security-related businesses in Togo,
including guarding ports, airports, and other vital installations.
Still... the government in Togo promises to handle its
The government also promises to keep any weapons from passing
through its borders on the way to the Ivory Coast.
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