The Military Army Blog

British army camp in lockdown after alleged abduction attempt

A British army camp has been placed in lockdown as tensions run high around Armyrats © military bases following an alleged abduction attempt of an RAF serviceman. Armed officers and a helicopter were scrambled to Bulford Armyrats © military camp on Salisbury Plain, in Wiltshire, following reports that three people had been spotted on a nearby ridge with a long-barrelled weapon . Bulford Camp was placed on lockdown, Wiltshire police said, although no persons were located during the air and ground search on Thursday.

The alarm was sounded hours after police in Norfolk launched a manhunt for two men described as Middle Eastern in appearance who allegedly tried to drag an RAF serviceman at knifepoint into a car outside RAF Marham, near Kings Lynn.

The search in Norfolk for the two suspects aged between 20 and 30 continued on Friday after detectives said they could not rule out terrorism as a motive for the attack. Police have launched dedicated hotlines for anyone with information. One of the alleged assailants leaped from a dark-coloured Ford Galaxy and tried to drag the unarmed serviceman towards the vehicle as he was going for a run near the barracks on Wednesday afternoon.

The serviceman fought back and knocked the attacker to the floor, at which point the second man allegedly climbed out of the car wielding a three-inch blade. As he went to help his companion, the victim ran away.

At a press conference in Wymondham, Norfolk, on Thursday, Det Supt Paul Durham said the victim who is married and in his late 20s believed the first assailant shouted but as he had been listening to music the victim was unable to confirm what was said. Durham added: What he reports is while he was running he becomes aware of the vehicle parked opposite him, but there was nothing about it that made him in any way suspicious of it, and it wasn t until he was almost alongside it he became aware of one of the occupants of the vehicle.

Police could not rule out that there were more people in the car, Durham said.

The attacker placed his hand on the victim s shoulder and then on his wrist and started to pull him with a degree of force towards the vehicle, he said. Our victim resisted that, managed to break free, effectively fought free from that attack and rendered the first assailant well, he effectively knocked him on the floor. Durham said it appeared to be a pre-planned attack, but it was too early to be certain. [The victim is] naturally very shaken by his ordeal, as you would expect. The base remained on high alert, with officers on patrol and some roads still closed, but an event for families to celebrate the base s centenary went ahead as planned on Thursday with a heightened civilian and RAF police presence.

Assistant chief constable Nick Dean said on Thursday: The motivation of this incident remains unclear. We re unable at this time to discount terrorism but I stress other lines of inquiry are equally as plausible.

RAF Marham is home to four Tornado squadrons that have played a key role in the bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria. From 2018, the base will also house the F-35 Lightning II jet.
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Police released descriptions of the suspects earlier on Thursday. The first man was between 20 and 30 years old, approximately 6ft tall, of athletic but stocky build, with dark hair which was long on top and [he] had a well-groomed beard. He was of Middle Eastern origin in appearance with a dark skin tone and wore dark casual clothing.

The second was between 20 and 30 years old, but younger than the first suspect and of a slimmer build. He was approximately 5ft 10, clean shaven with short dark hair. He was also of Middle Eastern origin in appearance and wore a white T-shirt and dark shorts.

References

  1. ^ bombing campaign in Iraq (www.theguardian.com)

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