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Somali Puntland region captures weapons-laden boat from Yemen

Somali Puntland forces receive weapons seized in a boat on the shores of the Gulf of Aden in the city of Bosasso, Puntland region, Somalia on Sunday. (REUTERS)
BOSASO, Somalia: Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland seized a boat loaded with weapons from Yemen in Saturday’s early hours, the regional maritime police chief said.
Puntland authorities displayed dozens of anti-aircraft guns, machine guns, AK-47 rifles and dozens of boxes of ammunition seized from the boat after it was stopped in coastal waters off the Horn of Africa region.
The journey of the small vessel, known as Al-Faruq, was tracked from Yemen by European maritime forces patrolling sea lanes off Somalia, Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan, the director general of Puntland maritime police force, told Reuters.
He said they had seized other boatloads of arms destined for Daesh and Al-Shabab militants active in Somalia though on this occasion the cargo was believed to be owned by arms smugglers who would have sold them at local retail outlets.
“Today, we suspect traders own these weapons, but we shall investigate further,” he said. Puntland has been hit by heavy fighting in recent months as Al-Shabab and a splinter group linked to Daesh attacked government troops around the Galagala hills, 30 km southeast of the regional capital Bosaso.