Nigeria intercepts arms shipment

2010-10-26 22:23

Abuja - Nigeria's secret service said on Tuesday it had intercepted a container holding rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives at the main port of Lagos, mere weeks after deadly car bomb attacks in the capital, Abuja.

The State Security Service (SSS) says it intercepted 13 containers at Apapa Wharf in Lagos, as part of tightened security measures introduced after the October 1 bombings which killed 12 people near an independence day parade.

"On opening the first container, the service operatives discovered rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives," SSS spokesperson Marilyn Ogar said, adding that the weapons were concealed among crates of floor tiles.

According to her, the paperwork said the shipment consisted of building materials, and that other containers were still being searched.

The Abuja car bombs, claimed by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend), the main militant group in the oil-producing Niger Delta in the south, have heightened tensions ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections due next year.

Mend, which claimed the October 1 attacks, has warned of further strikes, although security services have said the main suspects are now in detention.

There is also insecurity in the remote northeast, where a radical Islamist sect, the Boko Haram, has fire-bombed police stations and shot dead police officials, politicians and traditional leaders.

The unrest involving Boko Haram members has raised fears of a repeat of an uprising last year which led to days of gun battles with security forces during which hundreds of people were killed.