A Dutch-flagged boat with fifteen Russian crew members was intercepted over the weekend in Lagos. Authorities suspected they were weapons smuggler after they found out that the vessel was loaded with guns and 8,500 round of ammunition.
Speaking on the matter, Navy spokesman Commodore Aliyu Kabiru disclosed that the vessel flying a Dutch flag was owned by the Moran Security Group, based in Moscow.
A breakdown of the weapons, provided by Rear Admiral Ameen Ikioda, listed 14 AK47 rifles with 3, 643 ammunitions and 22 Benelli MRI 20 barrel rifles with 4, 955 ammunitions adding that after a thorough search, more weapons could still be discovered inside the ship.
“Investigations are still ongoing,” said Kabiru. He gave no further details.
Lieutenant Commander Jerry Omodara said the vessel had left the Cook Islands in the South Pacific and arrived in Nigeria’s waters early Saturday.
“There is no indication that the vessel was authorised to come into Nigeria and worse still, to carry arms,” he said, adding that the ship and crew were being detained for further investigation.
Arms smuggling is a lucrative business in a country battling Islamist insurgency in the north, organized armed robbery and kidnapping gangs in the south and oil thieves and pirates in the southeast.
Omodara said the vessel was currently docked at the navy’s Beecroft’s harbour in Apapa, Lagos,