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Russians Jailed in Somaliland for Illegal Plane Landing

A court in the breakaway republic of Somaliland has sentenced six Russians each to one year in jail for illegally entering the enclave and landing a plane carrying illegal military supplies.

An attorney for the men told VOA's Somali Service the six have the option to buy out their prison terms. They were also fined $500 for immigration violations.

The Russians were arrested earlier this month after landing their chartered plane at Somaliland's Hargeisa International Airport. Authorities say the plane contained military uniforms and other equipment destined for the semi-autonomous region of Puntland.

Reports say the equipment was headed to a private company conducting anti-piracy training in Puntland. But authorities expressed concern the military supplies could make their way to armed groups that could destabilize Somaliland.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.