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German special forces soldier convicted over gun, ammo stash

BERLIN (AP) — A court in Germany has convicted a special forces soldier of breaking firearms laws for hoarding rifles, explosives and ammunition at his home.

The Leipzig regional court on Friday sentenced the 46-year-old, whose name wasn’t released, to a suspended term of two years’ imprisonment.

Judges concluded that the defendant had stashed away 5,000 rounds of ammunition, and firearms including an AK-47 rifle, at the base of the elite KSK unit in the southwestern town of Calw. After concerns were raised about missing weapons and ammunition, the defendant moved the material to his home where his son helped him bury some of it in the garden.

The defendant maintained that he had stored the weapons for use in training.

Germany’s military intelligence agency, known by its acronym MAD, had been observing the man since 2017 amid concerns he might be involved in far-right activity.

Police searching the man’s house found a magazine containing far-right content but prosecutors said there was no evidence he had an extremist background.

The commander of the KSK unit last year said soldiers who handed in missing ammunition would receive an amnesty, a move that prompted widespread criticism after it came to light this year.

Germany’s defense minister disbanded one of the KSK’s units in July and vowed to further investigate extremism and implement reforms.

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