A Nigerian–bound Russian ship is being detained in South Africa for carrying illegal arms.
The cargo ship, LADA, was arrested on Sunday at the Port of Nura, near Port Elizabeth city, following a tip-off.
According to a report by Fletmon.com, security checks on the vessel revealed arms and explosives believed to be illegal in 20 containers.
It was learnt that an investigation by South Africa’s criminal investigation organisation – The Hawks – revealed that the cargo was heading for Nigeria’s commercial city Lagos and the United States.
In recent times, security agencies and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have been intercepting illegal arms and ammunition in large consignments at the nation’s ports.
The prevalence of small arms is believed to be the cause of the violent crimes being perpetrated across the country.
The detained ship had sailed since May from Ust-Luga, Russia, Baltic sea, visiting India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania ports prior to its arrival in South Africa.
Investigation of the matter was ongoing yesterday.
It would be recalled that in September and October 2014, the South African authorities seized $15 million arms money from Nigeria.
In the first seizure, two Nigerians and an Israeli national were arrested in South Africa $9.3 million apparently meant for buying arms for the Nigerian intelligence service.
The men landed at Lanseria International Airport, Johannesburg, on September 5 in a private jet from Abuja with the money stashed in three suitcases.
The second seizure of $5.7 million involved a transaction between Cerberus Risk Solutions, an arms broker in Cape Town, and an Abuja-based Nigerian company, Societe D’Equipments Internationaux.
The deal fell through after Cerberus which had earlier received from Nigeria R60 million (N1.02 billion) in its account at Standard Bank, tried to repay the money as it could not resolve its registration formalities with the South African authorities.