(JTA) — Nigerian police arrested three alleged Hezbollah operatives in possession of a large weapons cache they planned to use against Israeli and Western targets.
According to a statement Thursday by the military spokesman of Kano in northern Nigeria, Ikedichi Iweha, the arrests took place between May 16-28, the Reuters news agency reported. All three suspects were Lebanese nationals who admitted during questioning to working for Hezbollah, Iweha said in the statement.
In one of the suspects’ dwellings, police found eleven 60mm anti-tank weapons, four anti-tank landmines, two rounds of ammunition for a 122-mm artillery gun, 21 rocket-propelled grenades, seventeen AK-47s with more than 11,000 bullets, and dynamite, the statement said.
“The arms and ammunition were targeted at facilities of Israel and Western interest in Nigeria,” Iweha said, Reuters reported.
The secret service detained the first suspect, Mustapha Fawaz, on May 16 in Kano. His interrogation led to other suspects, including Abdullah Tahini, who was later arrested at Kano airport with $60,000 in undeclared cash.
The third, Talal Roda, a Nigerian and Lebanese citizen, was arrested on Sunday at the house where the weapons were found.
A Nigerian court sentenced an alleged member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and a Nigerian accomplice to five years in prison this month over an illegal shipment of mortars and rockets seized in the main port of Lagos in 2010.
Last year, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor said during an address before members of the Security Council that Hezbollah was “heavily establishing itself in Western Africa.”
A number of European Union nations are considering designating as terrorist Hezbollah’s armed wing as a means of stemming its fundraising on the continent.
On Thursday, Al Arabiya, the Saudi-owned TV news network, reported that the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council also was considering banning the group as terrorist because of its recent involvement in the Syrian civil war.
The GCC will consider the action at its meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia this Sunday, Al Arabiya said.