Africa

Australia navy seizes weapons cache on 'Somali-bound' boat

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The Australian navy says it has seized a huge cache of weapons on a fishing boat off the coast of Oman that was apparently heading for Somalia.

It said crew from one its warships found grenade launchers, machine guns and 2,000 assault rifles concealed under fishing nets.

It is unclear who was transporting the weapons or who they were for.

The Australian warship is part of an international naval force which is enforcing UN sanctions.

Sailors from Australia's HMAS Darwin boarded the vessel after they found it did not have a state flag for identification.

They found weapons, including 100 rocket-propelled grenades thought to be worth a total of $2m (£1.4m).

Australian Vice-Admiral David Johnston said the size of the haul meant it was "highly significant".

Although heading towards Somalia when it was stopped, the boat would also have passed by the coast of Yemen, where there is also conflict.

UN sanctions authorise the interception of weapons heading for Somalia, where the Islamist militant group al-Shabab is active.

However, the UN allows the Somali government to buy light weapons for its fight against the Islamists.

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