Moscow to get charges lifted from 15 Russian sailors in Nigeria
MOSCOW, February 26 - RAPSI. Russia considers it a positive development that the 15 Russian sailors held in Nigeria have been released on their own recognizance, and will work to ensure that all charges against them are lifted, the Foreign Ministry's Department of Information and the Press said in a statement.
On Monday the Lagos High Court granted the request of the Russian Embassy to release the MV Myre Seadiver 15 crew members, charged with illegal entry and arms trafficking, under the embassy's guarantees.
"This is the first positive development in the case of the Russian sailors. Following a telephone conversation between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Nigerian Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru, the Nigerian authorities have promised to give the sailors a chance to return home 'in order to preserve a friendly atmosphere in bilateral relations and in view of humanitarian considerations, " the statement reads.
The MV Myre Seadiver was arrested on October 19, 2012 off the coast of Lagos by a naval patrol, which also detained its 15 crew.
According to the Nigerian media, weapons were found on the vessel, including 14 AK-47 rifles with 3,643 rounds of ammunition and 22 Benelli MR1 rifles with 4,955 rounds of ammunition.
Piracy and kidnapping are common around the coast of Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer and most populous nation.