Page last updated at 08:06 GMT, Thursday, 18 June 2009 09:06 UK

Nigeria holds Ukraine arms plane

Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema
The Ukrainian plane was bound for Equatorial Guinea

A Ukrainian aircraft reported to be carrying crates of weapons has been detained in Nigeria.

It had made an emergency landing in the northern Nigerian city of Kano while on a flight to Equatorial Guinea.

Nigerian security officials say 18 crates with mines and ammunition were on board, but there are no details of exactly who the cargo was destined for.

The three crew members, reported to be Ukrainian, are being questioned, but few details other have been released.

BBC reporter Mustafa Mohamed, in Kano, says the aircraft was placed under guard, and security forces are continuing their investigations.

It is believed the plane made the emergency landing because of a technical fault.

Attack on palace

Earlier this year, the authorities in Equatorial Guinea arrested a number of people in connection with an attack on the presidential palace in the capital, Malabo.

A the time of the incident, in February, state radio in Equatorial Guinea said that those detained had been operating with other members of a rebel group based in Nigeria's Niger Delta region.

It said some of those who attacked the palace had been killed or wounded.

Rebels of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) denied involvement.

The Equatorial Guinea President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, later dismissed several government ministers.

The president has been in power in the oil-rich former Spanish colony since seizing power in a coup in 1979.

His government has long been accused of human rights abuses and of suppressing political opposition.

Last year, a former British army officer, Simon Mann, was sentenced to 34 years in jail for plotting to overthrow him in 2004.

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