The Armenian police said on Tuesday that they have confiscated nearly one hundred assault rifles and other weapons in an ongoing crackdown on two rival clans in Gyumri that was launched after a deadly shooting last week.
The national police chief, Vladimir Gasparian, demonstrated more than 30 of those weapons to journalists during a fresh trip to Armenia’s second city that has for years been rocked by the bloody feud between the families of Vartan Ghukasian, its longtime former mayor, and Martun Grigorian, a young parliament deputy. Gasparian said they belonged to individuals close to the two bitter rivals.
“This is only one third [of the confiscated weapons,]” Gasparian told the reporters. “Most of them were transported to Yerevan for forensic tests. These ones will also go to Yerevan after this exhibition.”
“All these weapons and ammunition will be checked in connection with one or another crime committed both here and elsewhere in the republic,” he said. “Whatever the clans, none of them will win. Only the law will win. So we’ll do away with the clans and their cloning.”
The weapons were put on display four days after Gasparian vowed to rein in the two feuding clans. Dozens of their members were rounded up by the police last week following the April 23 shooting of two men close to the Grigorian family. One of them died in hospital, while the other survived the attack.
The police were quick to arrest one of the ex-mayor’s nephews, Vahe Ghukasian, on charges of murder and armed assault. The teenage son of the man wounded by Ghukasian is also currently under arrest. He was charged with illegal arms possession.
Gasparian did not clarify whether the confiscated weapons were possessed illegally. The police general said instead that he believes more firearms remain in the hands of the two rival groups. The police have given them three weeks to surrender those weapons or face imprisonment, he said.