Nigeria arrests 15 Russian sailors

2012-10-23 16:13

Lagos - Nigerian authorities seized a ship and arrested its 15 Russian crew on suspicion of arms smuggling, after they found several guns and about 8 500 rounds of ammunition on the boat, the Navy said on Tuesday.

The vessel was intercepted over the weekend in Lagos, one of Africa's busiest ports, Navy spokesperson Commodore Aliyu Kabiru said by telephone. It belonged to the Moran Security Group, based in Moscow, and was flying a Dutch flag, he added.

There was no immediate comment from Moran.

"The vessel was carrying 8 598 ammunitions and different rifles. Investigations are still ongoing," he said. He gave no further details.

A Navy source, who could not be named, said 22 Benelli MR1 rifles and several other automatic weapons were found.

Arms smuggling is a flourishing enterprise in Nigeria, which is battling an Islamist insurgency in the north, organised armed robbery and kidnapping gangs in the south and oil thieves and pirates in the southeast.

The country is also sometimes used as a conduit for shipping arms into other parts of West Africa or the world.

In 2010, a consignment of rocket launchers, grenades and other explosive from Iran was seized at Lagos, causing a diplomatic incident between the two countries, and later between Iran and Senegal, which accused Iranian security forces of using the route to supply weapons to its Casamance rebels.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-10-23 16:54

    . THAT is all these Russian BASTARDS are good at; SELLING AND SMUGGLING ARMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Buzzbar - 2012-10-23 17:06

    Probably to defend themselves from Nigerian pirates. These days west africa has become the new "wild west" Shoot first, don't bother asking questions.

      victor.ejike.5 - 2012-10-23 18:55

      Yes piracy has increased in west africa but it not as bad as u trying to paint the russians have a bad track record when it come to weapons trafficking

      omo.naija.750 - 2012-10-23 20:58

      Buzzbar - Really ? They a need a ship full to the brim with weapons to fight off pirates??? Did you forget your brain in the closet???

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