French army red-faced after command post stolen

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The French army top-brass were left red-faced when after a mobile command post worth 600,000 euros (820,000 dollars), complete with military computers, was stolen, judicial sources said Tuesday.

The modular command post system, which resembles a cargo container, was discovered during the search of a warehouse in Bobigny, northeast of Paris, that had been rented by a man suspected of fraud, a judicial source said.

The 20-foot (seven-metre) unit contained computers with "non sensitive" data on them, a source close to the enquiry said.

The army noticed the command post was missing from its Montlhery barracks south of Paris during an inventory on July 18.

Investigators suspect someone inside the barracks of involvement with the theft as the command unit can only be moved by a flat-bed truck.

The Le Parisien newspaper reported the command post was supposed to have been sent to the Ivory Coast, where former colonial ruler France has a large military presence supporting a United Nations peacekeeping mission.

A 46-year-old Ivorian national and another suspect have been arrested and another two other suspects are being investigated, the local magistrate said.

© 2011 AFP

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