2,000 guns on fishing boat? Australia navy stops arms shipment reaching Somalia.
The Australian navy, which patrols waters around the Indian Ocean as part of an international maritime force, said it seized nearly 2,000 AK-47 rifles, 100 rocket-propelled grenade launchers and 49 PKM machine guns.
A Western security sources told the Reuters news agency that the street value of the haul seized by the Australian Navy appeared to be more than $2m.
“The weapons were seized under United Nations sanctions, which authorise interdiction on the high seas of illicit weapons destined for Somalia,” the navy said.
The Australian Navy did not say who the intended recipient of the weapons, which were discovered under fishing nets, was.
The navy said personnel from HMAS Darwin boarded the vessel around 170 nautical miles (195 miles) off the coast of Oman to verify which flag it was sailing under and they determined that it was stateless.
The ship is in the region as part of the Combined Task Force 150, which is responsible for counter-terrorism operations and cracking down on piracy and drug smuggling.
An arms embargo enforced by the United Nations has been in place against Somalia for decades, and the country has been mired in conflict since a civil war started in 1991.
In 2013, the UN Security Council relaxed some of the restrictions, allowing the Western-backed government to buy light weapons to help its armed forces in the battle against al Shabaab militants, who are aligned to al Qaeda.
As well as al Shabaab, some regional states in Somalia operate and equip their own militias without government approval.