Zimbabwe weapons ship headed for Angola
- 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
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
"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
"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 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.
WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE
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