RABAT, December 7. /TASS/. The crew of a Russian cargo plane detained in Nigeria on Saturday is made up of 20 members, of whom 18 are Russians and the rest two are French nationals, the Russian embassy in Abuja said on Sunday.
“The plane is currently kept at the port of Kano,” Artyom Romanov, the embassy’s spokesman, told TASS. “The Russian embassy is working with the Nigerian authorities to settle the situation around the detained plane.”
Earlier, Romanov told TASS that although the detained plane was Russia, the cargo onboard - military equipment - belonged to the French peacemaking mission in Chad. “The Russian cargo plane that was detained in Nigeria on Saturday had been chartered by the French peacekeeping mission in Chad,” he said.
“The nIgerian authorities have no claims to the cargo,” the Russian diplomat noted. “Technical formalities are being settled to issue a takeoff permit.”
On Saturday, the Reuters news agency, citing security sources, reported that Nigeria detained a Russian cargo plane and its French-speaking crew after it made an unauthorised landing in the northern city of Kano with military hardware bound for neighbouring Chad.
The plane had been reportedly travelling from Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic, to the Chadian capital N'Djamena but was forced to make an emergency landing in Kano because N'Djamena airport was closed, the agency said. According to Reuters, the five crew members were detained, while inspectors examining the shipment “found two helicopters, a bullet-proof jeep and boxes of what were suspected to be military hardware”.