By AbdulSalam Muhammad
KANO â€” SECURITY operatives attached to the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) early yesterday morning impounded a Ukrainian cargo plane loaded with a range of sophisticated weapons.
The cargo plane with registration number UR-CAK, and a crew of four was believed to be heading to Equatorial Guinea when it suddenly made a technical landing in Kano at about 2.00 a.m. yesterday.
Security sources at the airport told Vanguard that the circumstances of the landing made curious security operatives on duty to undertake a full search of the cargo planeâ€™s hold and its contents.
Vanguard further gathered that in the course of the search, the security operatives discovered ordnance of various nature and assorted sophisticated arms and ammunition in several quantities.
Consequently, all four crew members were arrested and taken out of public glare, ostensibly for questioning. Further, a Nigerian who claimed to be a clearing agent was seen making frantic moves to secure the release of the cargo plane. He was also taken into custody.
When Vanguard visited the airport yesterday afternoon, heavily armed military personnel had been deployed and have taken over the security of the airport, while the area where the Russian-built plane was parked at the hanger was cordoned off.
It was also learnt that the Air Force has been placed on alert to confront any suspicious plane that may breach the nationâ€™s airspace. Efforts to take photo shots of the Ukraine cargo plane painted in white, with red stripes was rebuffed by the security operatives.
The Airport Commandant, Group Captain Abagboyi was not available to confirm the development, while efforts to secure the comments of the Director-General of State Security Services in Kano also failed as the Director, Bello Tukur told Vanguard he was out of the city on official duty.
But an Army general who declined to be named confirmed the development to Vanguard when contacted, saying the military has commenced full investigations into the circumstances surrounding the arrival of the cargo plane and its contents in Nigeria.
Similarly, Emmanuel Ojukwu, an Assistant Commissioner of Police who is also the Force spokesman confirmed seizure of the plane by military authorities, but declined to give further details.