- The twelve soldiers implicated in the theft of weapons from a military base were denied bail
- 19 automatic weapons were stolen from Lyttleton military base in Pretoria
- The lawyer representing the soldiers maintains their innocence
Twelve soldiers who were recently implicated in the theft of military-grade automatic rifles have been denied bail after they appeared in court.
Briefly.co.za learned that on Monday, Lyttleton military base in Pretoria reported that 19 automatic rifles were missing and it was alleged that the theft had been orchestrated by people within the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
The soldiers appeared before a military court where they were accused of stealing the weapons over a number of weeks. Among the charges are housebreaking, theft and the loss of arms.
Brian Plaatjies, the lawyer representing the soldiers, 4 officers and 8 non-commissioned officers, maintains that his clients were not afforded their constitutional rights according to enca.co.za.
"There's no direct evidence presented that any of these accused have either been found in possession of the firearms, any direct evidence that someone saw them with the weapons."
The weapons were recovered earlier this week according to the SABC.
Pikkie Greef, National Defence Union secretary, had confirmed the weapons were recovered.
Greef confirmed suspicions that the incident seemed to have been an inside job, with the person in charge of the safe's keys apprehended:
“The weapons have been recovered. It does rather disturbingly seem to be an inside job. The person in charge of the keys of the safe, the officer on duty and so on would be suspects in this case. They were found in Hammanskraal on the next morning of the theft. So four officers have been arrested and taken in for questioning, 19 guards have been taken in for questioning.”
Briefly.co.za reported that the ANC condemned the theft of the weapons earlier this week.