US navy seizes smuggled weapons off Somali coast
- 17 February 2021
The US navy said late Tuesday that its guided-missile destroyer the USS Winston S. Churchill seized illegal shipments of weapons and weapons components from two small ships during a maritime security operation in international waters off Somalia’s coast, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
The operation took place from Feb. 11-12.
"The weapons seized consisted of thousands of AK-47 assault rifles, light machine guns, heavy sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and crew-served weapons. Other weapon components included barrels, stocks, optical scopes and weapon systems,” it said in a statement.
The source of the weapons has not yet been identified.
Somali officials who spoke to Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity said the weapons may have been purchased by the Somali-based al-Qaeda affiliated militant group al-Shabaab, who have been fighting against the Somali government for over a decade.
“We are proud of the combined efforts of the AIT and Churchill crew members for executing dynamic and demanding boardings,” said Lieut. Travis Dopp, assistant AIT leader aboard the Churchill, referring to the Advanced Interdiction Team.
"We are proud to have a positive impact on the safety and security of coalition forces by interdicting shipments of lethal aid,” he added.