Boat carrying weapons seized in Somalia's Puntland coast

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BOSASO, Somalia - A boat carrying sophisticated weapons was on Wednesday seized in Puntland, the northeastern state of Somalia, with the culprits suspected to be pirates who have lately intensified their activities within the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.

The boat, Puntland Marine Police Force said, was seized along Ras Aseyr within the eastern part of Bari region in Puntland. The incident comes amid the backdrop of rising activities of pirates along Somalia's coastline, who have lately been a major concern to international partners.

The commander of police in the region Fu’ad Mohamud Garab-Yare told journalists three people who were aboard the boat were also arrested. The three have been locked up for further interrogation before their fate is determined by authorities.

According to Fuad, the seized weapons were of high caliber and could have been purchased by the pirates, who had been sighted on the shaky coastline. In the last two months, about five cases of piracy have been reported in Puntland state, mainly targeting foreign vessels.

Piracy was effectively tackled in Somalia a decade ago after the international community intervened. However, Somalia has been dealing with related incidents in recent weeks, calling for intensive surveillance by partners, who play an important role in the region's security.

Besides piracy, Somalia has also been fighting Al-Shabaab militants, who also smuggle weapons from troubled Yemen. The group runs a $120 million budget annually and of this, $24 million goes to the purchase of weapons, which are ordered from overseas.

Last year, Somalia successfully challenged the arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council and the country is now able to effectively deal with Al-Shabaab by equipping security teams. The Somali National Army is undergoing reforms.

GAROWE ONLINE

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