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Zimbabwe weapons ship headed for Angola

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    Zimbabwe weapons ship headed for Angola http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/04/19/safrica.china/index.html Arms ship heads towards Angola Dockworkers are
    Message 1 of 1 , May 4, 2008
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      Zimbabwe weapons ship headed for Angola

      Arms ship heads towards Angola

      Dockworkers are against the Mugabe regime, union leader says

      Ship sailed away away from Durban, union leader says

      JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CNN) -- A Chinese ship loaded with arms
      and ammunition sailed away from a South African waters and is on its
      way to Luanda, Angola to unload its cargo bound for Zimbabwe.

      The An Yue Jiang sat anchored outside Durban's harbor in South Africa
      on Thursday.

      South Africa's High Court ruled Friday the cargo could be offloaded
      in the Durban port, but it could not pass over South Africa roads to
      get to Zimbabwe, a country in crisis because of an election stalemate.

      Durban's dockworkers also said they would not handle the cargo,
      fearing the arms would be used by the Zimbabwean government against
      its own people.

      A South African government source told CNN the China-flagged An Yue
      Jiang had sailed away from Durban Friday evening before the High
      Court's order could be served to the ship's captain.

      The ship was headed to the port of Luanda, Angola, according to the
      South African Department of Transport.

      Zimbabwe is in turmoil after elections last month that saw the
      opposition Movement for Change party win a majority of seats in the
      parliament, although Mugabe's ZANU-PF party has contested 16 seats,
      claiming the MDC cheated.

      The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission began a recount of 23 of those
      districts Saturday morning.

      The presidential election, however, has sparked much more concern. The
      government of President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since
      Zimbabwe won its independence in 1980, has refused to release results
      of that vote before a recount.

      The MDC says its candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, won the election, but
      ZANU-PF has claimed the MDC engaged in election tampering. The delay
      in releasing the vote sparked violence and a government crackdown on
      opposition members.

      "This union has a proud history of taking action against regimes which
      it disapproves of in the past, but this is certainly the first time it
      has gotten involved in an African regime like Zimbabwe," David
      Cockroft, general secretary of the International Transport Workers
      Federation, said.

      "I don't think there's much doubt that the (dock) workers ... are very
      strongly against the Mugabe regime," he said.

      Cockroft said that arms had almost certainly been shipped to Zimbabwe
      through Durban in the past, but the size of this shipment -- "more
      than a million pounds" and 3.5 million rounds of rifles, small arms,
      mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades -- made it more noteworthy.

      Earlier, South African Revenue Service spokesman Adrian Lackay told
      CNN "that it is commonplace for landlocked neighboring states in
      southern Africa to use South African ports of entry for the
      transshipment of goods."

      Lackay indicated that the ship had complied with South African
      regulations requiring it to disclose the contents of the cargo it is

      A government spokesman, Thembo Maseko, told CNN, "There were arms on
      the ship."

      The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement in a fax to the
      Reuters news agency saying that China and Zimbabwe have normal trade
      relations, that the Chinese government takes a "prudent and
      responsible" position on arms deals and that it does not involve
      itself in the internal affairs of other countries.



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