Russian ship detained in SA over ‘weapons’ cargo

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South African police said Thursday that they had boarded a Russian-registered cargo ship allegedly carrying illegal weapons and explosives en route to Lagos, Nigeria.

The vessel, named Lada, had reportedly left Madagascar before stopping at Ngqura port outside the eastern city of Port Elizabeth, where it was detained after a security check on Sunday.

“We are aware that she has dangerous cargo, explosives and weapons on board,” Olwethu Mdabula, spokesperson for Transnet  told AFP.

She declined to give further details.

Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, spokesperson for the Hawks, confirmed to AFP that the vessel was carrying weapons.

“This is a very, very sensitive matter. It is receiving attention,” he said.

Local reports said police had searched the vessel after an anonymous tip-off and found weapons and explosives worth about $3.5 million in 20 containers on board.