By Our Foreign Staff

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

Thomas de Maiziere said it was not immediately clear who had carried out the test, which sparked a major security alert Wednesday, but said he had had no advance knowledge of the purported exercise, prompting allegations of incompetence.

“The luggage turned out to be a so-called real test suitcase made by a company in the United States,” Mr de Maiziere said.

This company is a manufacturer of alarm and detection systems and these real test suitcases are built to test security measures.”

He said investigators were still examining who placed the suitcase with baggage to be loaded on to an Air Berlin plane at the international airport of the Namibian capital Windhoek, including whether German security forces could have been involved in the test.

“I consider that highly unlikely but that is one of the things we are looking into,” De Maiziere said.

“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.”

The revelation is likely to give rise to serious questions about co-ordination between the international security services if a foreign country was behind the test.


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