Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) on Friday claimed to have found a cache of ammunition and explosive materials in a Yerevan apartment, saying that it may be connected with opposition gunmen that seized a police compound last month.
An NSS said the arsenal contained 6,000 automatic rifle bullets, 15 hand grenades, large amounts of explosives, detonators designed for them, and even an anti-tank gun in the apartment belonging to a person it identified as “G.S.”
“Two persons have been arrested,” the NSS said in a statement. It did not identify them.
The security agency released several photographs of the alleged ammunition cache which it said “may have had to do” with the July 17 attack on the police compound in Yerevan’s Erebuni district carried out by armed members of a radical opposition group, Founding Parliament. It cautioned, though, that NSS investigators are also exploring “other plausible theories.”
The NSS reported the raid five days after all gunmen demanding the release of Founding Parliament’s jailed leader and President Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation surrendered to security forces besieging them.
The armed group reportedly numbered 31 when it stormed and captured the Erebuni police facility, killing one police officer and taking several others hostage. Only 20 gunmen remained holed up in the compound by Sunday evening. Most of the others were wounded by security forces and thus forced to give themselves up.
The Special Investigative Service (SIS), another law-enforcement body which is leading a criminal investigation into the attack, said on Friday that 44 people have been charged in connection with the two-week standoff. All but two of them are now under arrest, the SIS said in a statement.
The arrested persons include not only the gunmen but also several senior members of Founding Parliament that were not directly involved in the Erebuni attack.
The attack came almost one month after Founding Parliament’s top leader, Zhirayr Sefilian, and several other men were arrested for allegedly acquiring large quantities of weapons to seize government buildings and a television tower in Yerevan. Sefilian and his associates denied the charges as politically motivated.