Algerian troops seize heavy consignment of arm on Niger border
ALGIERS - Algerian soldiers have intercepted a convoy of vehicles on the border with Niger carrying a heavy consignment of arms, the defence ministry said Wednesday.
The four-vehicle convoy was "transporting individuals from different African nations who were trying to bring through a big cargo of arms and ammunition," said a statement quoted by the official APS news agency.
The cargo included 71 Kalashnikov assault rifles, 38 machine guns, two RPG-7 rocket launchers and other weapons, it said, without providing details of where the arms came from or the nationalities of the people in the convoy.
With the fall of Libyan strongman Moamer Gathafi, Algeria and other countries in the region such as Niger have expressed security fears following the return of thousands of Tuareg combatants to their homelands.
The sub-region is already facing security challenges from Al-Qaeda, drug and arms traffickers.
In the past two decades the traditionally nomadic desert people numbering about 1.5 million have posed serious security risks, especially for Mali and Niger, with periodic uprisings over complaints of being marginalised by their governments.