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Kenya navy arrest crew of dhow suspected of smuggling drugs

MOMBASA (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Navy officers on Thursday arrested 10 foreigners and seized a ship suspected to be linked with drugs and other illegal trade within the Indian Ocean in Mombasa.

Mombasa acting Police Commander Sevelino Kubai confirmed that they are interrogating an Iranian, seven Pakistani and two Indian crew members arrested.

"We had information that the two ships from Pakistan which had entered Somalia some days back were now sailing towards Mombasa and managed to intercept one of them.

"The other one remains at large," Kubai told journalists in Nairobi.

The ship MV Alnoor was seized by a navy patrol ship within Kenya territorial waters in the deep sea in Lamu.

Kubai said the ship was among the two cargo vessels that were being monitored by security agencies.

He said Kenya authorities had information about the suspicious ship suspected to use to smuggle illegal goods including firearms and hard drugs.

The vessel was escorted by Navy to Mombasa Port where it was handed over to police officers from CID and anti-narcotics and anti-terrorism unit.

Senior police officers and Navy commanders inspected the vessel that remained heavily guarded at Mtongwe military base within the port of Mombasa

The officers cordoned off the area and used sniffer dogs to search for clues about the contents in the Zanzibar flagged ship.

Kubai said documentation indicates that the vessel was en-route to Zanzibar.

He said further scrutiny of the manifest revealed that indeed the goods were loaded in the coastal city.

Kubai said the ship is loaded with 300 metric tonnes of cement which, according to the crew, originated from Yemen.

"We are currently off-loading the consignment for further verification," the police chief said.

Mombasa Head of Marine Unit Stanley Lamai confirmed they are holding ten crew members for further grilling.

Reliable sources indicate the ship could be among the vessels linked with international drugs trafficking and arm trafficking in the coastal region.

The source further said the ship could be owned by Pakistan nationals linked with narcotic drugs in the country but enjoy immunity from security agencies.

The kingpins are believed to have smuggled 1,032 kilograms of heroin worth 310 million U.S. dollars that was seized and destroyed off the Kenyan coast in May.

The Australian warship HMAS Darwin warship sent a boarding party to the suspect vessel while on patrol and impounded 46 sacks of heroin and destroyed it at sea.

The Australian Embassy in Nairobi said the boat was released before the drug was destroyed.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has on several occasions cited Kenya as a transit point for re-packaging and transshipment of drugs to Europe and America.

International investigators have established that proceeds from narcotic trade are used to finance global terrorist networks.


Six tons! Largest maritime seizure of hashish in the Indian Ocean



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