BBC – Four Americans and one Briton, who say they were trying to free a boat seized by pirates, have been arrested in Mozambique and accused of possessing illegal weapons.
They were detained at the airport in the country’s third city, Nampula, police say.
The men reportedly say they work for the US security firm GreySide. The US embassy says the group has no connection to the US government.
GreySide has not commented.
Nampula provincial police spokesperson Inacio Dina told the BBC that the weapons include an FN 5.5mm rifle, as well as ammunition and communications equipment.
The police have named the leader of the group as 42-year-old US citizen Michael Ferguson. He has not commented to the press.
The group had reportedly flown from the United States via Ethiopia and Kenya, where they picked up the weapons.
Mr Ferguson reportedly said their plan was to catch small boats in the northern Mozambican coastal city of Pemba before joining a larger vessel and trying to free the boat from pirates – it is not clear which ship they were allegedly trying to rescue.
They expected further weapons to reach them in Pemba, which they had not been able to load on the plane, police say.
Somalia-based pirates have attacked ships across the Indian Ocean, earning millions of dollars from ransom payments.