LAGOS – (AFP) – Customs officials in Nigeria, buckling under a spate of bomb attacks blamed on Islamists, have seized an illegal shipment of materials used in bomb-making on a Chinese vessel, an official said Saturday.
They were found in a 40-foot (12-metre) container which was searched Friday at the port of Tin Can in Lagos, customs spokesman Wale Adeniyi told AFP.
The container had arrived in June at one of Nigeria’s busiest ports on the MV Sheng Shi which had sailed from the southern Chinese port of Huangpu.
The suspicions of intelligence and customs officials were aroused by inconsistencies on the waybill.
An inspection yielded industrial socket valves and rechargeable reading lamps, which was the declared content, but also “different dimensions” of materials used in making explosive devices, Adeniyi said.
“Some of them were like underground cables, moulds, wires.”
The spokesman could not say whether any detonators were found.
Adeniyi said no importer or agent has come forward for clearance and no arrests have been made.
In October last year, Nigeria intercepted a container with crates of rockets, explosives and grenades from Iran. The case stirred international attention as Iran is under a UN arms embargo over its nuclear programme.
Nigeria has in recent months come under repeated bomb attack — the worst of which targeted UN headquarters in Abuja last month.
A suicide bomber on August 26 made his way through a gauntlet of security at the UN’s main compound, forcing his way through the gate before ramming into the building.
The resulting blast blew out the building’s first two floors, killing 23 people and leaving 116 others wounded, some seriously.