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Somalia seizes weapons-laden boat from Yemen

The boat sailed from Yemen before being captured [File Photo: AFP]

Date of publication: 24 September, 2017

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Somali authorities from the Puntland region seized a weapons-laden boat from war-torn Yemen on Saturday.
A boat loaded with weapons from Yemen was intercepted in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland in the early hours of Saturday, the regional maritime police chief said.

Dozens of anti-aircraft guns, machine guns, AK-47 rifles and dozens of boxes of ammunition were seized from the boat after it was stopped in coastal waters off the Horn of Africa region. 

The journey of the small vessel, known as al-Faruq, was tracked from Yemen by European maritime forces patrolling sea lanes off Somalia, Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan, the director general of Puntland maritime police force, told Reuters.

Security forces seized other boatloads of arms destined for Islamic State and al-Shabaab militants active in Somalia, he said, though on this occasion the cargo was believed to be owned by arms smugglers who would have sold them at local retail outlets.

"Today, we suspect traders own these weapons, but we shall investigate further," he said.

Puntland has been hit by heavy fighting in recent months as al-Shabaab and a splinter group linked to the Islamic State group attacked government troops around the Galagala hills, 30 km southeast of the regional capital Bosaso.

Puntland has rarely suffered from militant attacks before the recent surge in violence, mainly because its security forces are relatively regularly paid and receive substantial US assistance.

In June, 38 people, mainly soldiers, were killed after al-Shabaab overran a military base in the town of Af Urur.

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