Date: Sun Jan 02 2011 - 14:35:45 EST
A court in Somalia's northern breakaway territory of Somaliland has
sentenced six Russians to one year in prison for supplying weapons to
militants in neighboring Puntland.
The court also convicted the Russians of violating Somaliland's airspace and
fined them USD 500, state-funded BBC reported on Thursday.
On December 10, an An-26 aircraft landed at Hargeisa airport in the
Somaliland capital. The authorities of Somaliland claimed the landing had
been planned in advance.
The aircraft was seized and the Russian crew members were accused of
carrying military equipment bound for the neighboring semi-autonomous state
The African charterer of the plane, Saracens International, denied that the
cargo was illegal.
Reports say the uniforms and mines which were found on board the aircraft
have been confiscated by Somaliland officials.
Puntland broke away from Somalia in 1998 to escape the violence of southern
and central Somalia.
Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords
overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
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