French Navy frigate seizes another Somali bound weapons consignment

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The French Navy has seized a huge consignment of weapons including hundreds of AK-47 assault rifles and anti-tank weapons from a dhow headed for Somalia.

In a statement, the 31-nation Combined Maritime Forces Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) charged with conducting anti-piracy and counter-terrorism operations off the coast of Somalia said the seizure was made on 20 March near Socotra in the Northern Indian Ocean by the French Navy’s FREMM frigate FS Provence.
“The dhow was spotted heading toward Somalia by FS Provence’s Caiman helicopter whilst it was undertaking routine surveillance in the Northern Indian Ocean. Subsequently, Provence boarded the dhow and determined that it was without nationality. Provence then undertook a search of the vessel, during which the weapons were discovered.
“The haul included several hundred AK-47 assault rifles, machine guns and anti-tank weapons. As illicit weapons were deemed to be destined for Somalia, they were seized under the United Nations Security Council mandated arms embargo in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2244 of 2015,” the force said.

The seizure came three weeks after the Royal Australian Navy discovered a haul of 1 989 AK-47 automatic assault rifles, 100 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 49 PKM general purpose machineguns, 39 PKM spare barrels and twenty 60 mm mortar tubes from a small fishing vessel that was also headed to Somalia.

The stateless smuggling vessel was intercepted by Australian navy ship HMAS Darwin about 170 nautical miles off the coast of Oman.

IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly notes that the seizure is the third in the last six months. It added that the latest consignment includes what appear to be North Korean Type 73 machine guns.