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Nigeria seized weapons shipment stopped in India

A shipment of weapons that was seized in Nigeria's busiest port of Apapa earlier this week is believed to have started in Iran but it also made a stop at a Mumbai port, officials here said.

world Updated: Oct 29, 2010 02:42 IST

A shipment of weapons that was seized in Nigeria's busiest port of Apapa earlier this week is believed to have started in Iran but it also made a stop at a Mumbai port, officials here said.

The country's secret police, the State Security Service (SSS) said it discovered a container stacked with rocket launchers, grenades, mortar bombs and other light weapons on Tuesday but the owner has not been apprehended.

National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Andrew Azzazi said yesterday while inspecting the consignment that the shipment had made a stop in India, at Mumbai's Jawaharlal Nehru Port.

"The federal government will not jump into conclusion until everything that has to do with containers of arms is verified," Azazzi said.

The coordinator of the National Task force on illegal importation of arms and light ammunition South West zone told a local newspaper that the ship came from Iran.

The weapons which were described as similar to those used against United States forces in Afghanistan were conveyed to the port by MV CMA-CGM Everest registered in Marshall Islands and owned by a shipping company in France by July.

"The containers were discharged from the vessel MV CMA-CGM Everest, which berthed in the port on July 10 and sailed out on July 15, 2010, this year. 754 packages of glass wool and stones were declared on the ship's manifest as contents of the 13 containers," the Nigerian customs said in a statement.

Meanwhile, PTI learnt Israeli embassy officials in Nigeria have started talks with Nigeria's secret police on the suspicion that the weapons may have been destined for the Middle East region and smuggled by Hamas.

The said containers are 13 in number and the secret police spokeswoman, Marilyn Ogar had said the containers were opened after which it was discovered that they contained dangerous weapons.

The paper works suggest the ships were loaded with building materials.

The discovery became sensitive because, the oil rich African country's capital Abuja witnessed bombings that claimed 14 lives during celebration of its 50th independence anniversary.

One of the three bomb blasts witnessed during the independence anniversary exploded near a place where President Goodluck Jonathan was inspecting a military parade in the company of some heads of states and government delegations.