(Reuters) – Security forces in Niger’s volatile northern region of Agadez have seized large quantities of bomb components being transported in a passenger bus, a local government official said on state-owned radio late on Tuesday.
Police special forces discovered 620 explosives, 41 fuses and 310 electrical cables hidden in the bus during an inspection. In a separate operation, police arrested six bandits and impounded three vehicles as well as firearms, a rocket and military uniforms.
Speaking at a ceremony during which the materials and the arrested men were exhibited to reporters, Agadez’s governor, Colonel Major Fodé Camara, did not specify when the seizures were made.
“We believe these actions will help reduce insecurity in the region. We would like a bit more collaboration from the population and much more intelligence,” he said.
Agadez lies along one of West Africa’s primary smuggling routes for drugs, weapons and migrants and is also known as an area of operations for Islamist militants.
Islamist suicide bombers killed around 20 people and wounded dozens of others in 2013 during a coordinated dawn assault on a uranium mine run by France’s Areva and a military base in Agadez.