Nigeria says arms shipment from Belgium

November 26, 2010 12:00 am

, LAGOS, Nov 26 – An illegal arms shipment intercepted this week at Nigeria\’s busiest port came from Belgium through Germany, a navy spokesman said Thursday.

"I can confirm to you that the origin of the impounded consignment of arms, military equipment and vehicles is Belgium. The vessel came to Nigeria via Germany," Captain Kabir Aliyu told AFP.

He said those arrested over the illegal shipment were Nigerians, but refused to give details because of an ongoing investigation.

The shipment, including pistols, hundreds of ammunition, bulletproof jackets, military boots and other related banned items, was seized at the Lagos port weeks after the discovery of a weapons cache sent from Iran.

Aliyu said the military items were packed inside a vehicle painted in army green, while eight heavy duty trucks painted in military camouflage were also impounded.

Small Union Jack stickers had been placed on some of the vehicles, but the spokesman said they seem to have been used as a disguise.

"They are eight heavy duty trucks painted in (military) camouflage with UK flag on them," Aliyu said in an sms message to AFP.

"Some of them (trucks) are suspected to be carrying communication gadgets. They were alleged to be purchased from Belgium and shipped from Antwerp…to Nigeria," he added.

Aliyu said that the pistols, ammunitions, bulletproof jackets and other items found "were alleged to be souvenir for having served in the US Marines".

He did not give details on the identity of the ship that brought in the consignment, its owner or precisions of the arms, saying that the current investigation would shed more light on them.

Officials at the Belgian embassy in Nigeria were not immediately available for comments on the latest shipment.

Last month, Nigerian security agents intercepted an illegal arms shipment that included rockets and grenades at the same port which had been loaded in Iran.

Nigeria reported the shipment to the UN Security Council.

Iran is under four sets of UN sanctions for pursuing the programme, which the West suspects is a cover for a drive for a nuclear weapon, a charge Tehran denies. The sanctions include a ban on arms sales.

Tensions are rising ahead of next year\’s general elections in Africa\’s most populous country of 150 million people, which has witnessed voter fraud and violence.


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