The machine guns provided to the Icelandic Coastguard by the Norwegian Armed Forces late last year were sent back to Norway on a passenger jet bound for Oslo yesterday morning, ruv.is reports.
According to news program Spegillinn on RÚV, the guns were supposed to be sent back last Thursday but the process was delayed due to an unspecified technical issue. According to the Norwegian Armed Forces, the Icelandic Coast Guard needed to inform them of the guns’ return one week prior to their delivery and no such announcement had been made.
The guns were going to be sent via a Norwegian military transporter plane which was due in Iceland in mid-May but it was later confirmed that the plane would not make a stopover in Iceland so the Icelandic Coast Guard began looking for other options.
Spokesperson for the Norwegian Armed Forces Sven H. Halvorsen confirmed the receipt of the guns at Oslo’s Gardemoen airport yesterday.
The guns caused heated debate and criticism in Iceland and the Coast Guard eventually decided to send back the weapons.
DV reported in October last year that police authorities had imported a large number of guns to Iceland and that no discussion on increasing the police and Coast Guard’s firepower had taken place in parliament.
It later came to light that the Norwegian army expected significant payment for the weapons, while the Icelandic Coast Guard had always maintained that the weapons had been a gift. The decision to send the weapons back was made because it was out of the question to use limited funds on buying guns, the Coast Guard said.