Shipper says weapons on ship loaded in Iran not India

The CMA CGM, an international cargo shipper based in France, that carried the arms shipment, said that an Iranian trader had loaded the 13 shipping containers at Bandar Abbas, a port in south Iran, on the ship and made false declarations.

The company said it is just a victim of false cargo declaration because the paper works suggest the ships were loaded with building materials.

"The shipment in question was booked as a 'shippers-owned container' and supplied, loaded and sealed by the shipper, an Iranian trader who does not appear on any forbidden persons listing," a company statement said.

"The containers were... discharged in Lagos in July and transferred to a customs-bonded depot where they have remained with all seals untouched and unbroken," it said.

Nigeria's State Security Service had discovered containers stacked with rocket launchers, grenades, mortar bombs and other light weapons. The weapons were described as similar to those used against US forces in Afghanistan.

The oil-rich country's National Security Adviser Major General Andrew Azzazi had said that the shipment had made a stop in India, at Mumbai's Jawaharlal Nehru Port.
Meanwhile, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the matter is being professionally investigated by qualified personnel.

"As investigations continue and these and other security related matters, I urge us all to refrain from speculation and politicisation of matters at the heart of our national stability and progress," Jonathan wrote on his Facebook page yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Embassy officials in Nigeria have started talks with the country's secret police on the suspicion that the weapons may have been destined for the Middle East region and smuggled by Hamas.

Officials of the Israeli embassy, however, refused to disclose the progress of the talks.
The discovery of weapons became sensitive issue because the oil-rich country's capital Abuja witnessed bombings that claimed 14 lives during celebration of its 50th independence anniversary this month.

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