News24

Somaliland releases plane crew

2010-12-31 11:28

Mogadishu - The self-proclaimed state of Somaliland on Thursday released six Russian crew members of a plane seized carrying weapons to neighbouring Puntland in violation of an arms embargo, their lawyer said.

A judge in the breakaway Somali region's main city Hargeisa gave the men a suspended one-year jail sentence and fined them three million Somaliland shillings, or about $600, said their lawyer Qadar Mohamed Guled.

"The court found the defendants guilty of violating Somaliland territories while carrying illegal military supplies," said the lawyer.

Guled said the men had not intended to land in Somaliland and were not aware when they had done so.

The judge ordered the confiscation of all weapons on the plane.

The plane landed in Hargeisa on December 10 when it ran low on fuel, and two South Africans onboard have since been released.

It was delivering weapons to Puntland, another breakaway region of Somalia which is the subject of a long-standing but poorly enforced arms embargo.