A Australian warship on Friday rushed and intercepted vessel carrying a large weapons cache, including almost 2000 AK-47 assault rifles.
HMAS Darwin’s boarding team intercepted the fishing vessel about 300 kilometres off the coast of Oman and found 1989 AK-47 assault rifles along with 100 rocket propelled grenade launchers, 49 machine guns, spare barrels and mortar tubes hidden under fishing nets in the dhow.
The fishing boat was headed towards the Somalia coast.
Chief of Joint Operations Command, Vice Admiral David Johnston, said the seizure on Darwin’s first patrol was highly significant.
“One of the key reasons HMAS Darwin is deployed to the region is to contribute to global security and counter international terrorism,” Vice Admiral Johnston said.
“The successful boarding and subsequent seizure of the weapons concealed under fishing nets highlights the need to remain vigilant in the region.”
HMAS Darwin is in the region as part of a multinational effort to prevent terrorism, piracy and drug smuggling, and to secure the maritime environment in the Middle East and the north east coast of Africa.
An arms embargo on Somalia is creating an “inconvenience” for the country as it battles international extremists.
late last month, Somalia’s president Hassan Sheikh said that the arms embargo on Somalia is creating an “inconvenience” for the country as it battles international extremists.
He said the embargo is also “making people very uncomfortable and uneasy in supporting Somalia [with] military hardware”.
“Although we are a sovereign state and we are not a transitional government, even we are not fully free to [deal] with the rest of our international partners,” said Mohamud.
Mohamud is now calling on the UN Security Council to lift the rest of this embargo.
The UN Security Council first imposed the embargo on Somalia to cut the flow of weapons to feuding warlords who had ousted former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre a year earlier and plunged the country into civil war.
In 2013, the UN agreed to partially lift the embargo to allow the government to buy light weapons to combat al-Shabaab, which has emerged as a major security threat in the region.
Somalia is fighting a regional insurgency by the Al-Shabaab militia but has faced a partial arms ban, imposed first in 1992 then partially relaxed.