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Mozambique police deny Swazi arms shipment report

by Staff Writers
Maputo (AFP) March 5, 2011
Mozambican police denied Saturday that Swaziland tried to import two containers of arms through Mozambique, after Swazi dissidents accused the neighbouring country of aiding "a possible bloodbath."

An investigation "concluded that the containers had domestic utensils and plastic objects," national police media officer Raul Freia told AFP, adding that the containers had come from Iran.

Mozambican state newspaper Noticias on Friday said Swaziland attempted to import the two containers of firearms through the port in the capital city, Maputo, quoting an unnamed police source.

Police chief Jorge Khalau and spokesman Pedro Cossa had earlier declined to comment.

The Swaziland Solidarity Network, an organisation based in South Africa that often speaks out against the regime of Swazi King Mswati III, criticised the Mozambican government following the report.

"It is terribly insensitive of the government of Mozambique to aid a possible bloodbath in its neighbouring country," the organisation said in a statement.

"There ought to be an arms embargo against Swaziland until it yields to the demands for a multi-party democracy."

Swaziland has reportedly had trouble importing arms in the past because of concerns about how Africa's last absolute monarchy would use the weapons.

In December 2008, Britain blocked a Swazi move to buy arms worth $60 million (43 million euros) from a British company over "end-use concerns," according to a US embassy cable leaked by WikiLeaks.

UN suspects Zimbabwe over I. Coast arms embargo
United Nations (AFP) March 4, 2011 - UN experts are investigating suspected sanctions-busting arms deliveries from Zimbabwe to Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, according to a UN report.

UN investigators are looking into "the arrival of light weapons cargoes from Zimbabwe" in December, said the report which has been handed over as clashes mount between followers of Gbabgo and internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara.

The UN Security Council warned again this week of sanctions against any side in Ivory Coast who breaks an arms embargo imposed in 2004 when the country was torn apart by civil war.

The investigation focuses on four aircraft which landed at San Pedro airport in southern Ivory Coast, in territory controlled by Gbagbo's forces, between December 17-21.

The planes arrived from Angola, Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe, according to the report, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

Investigators are also looking into a shipment of 10 large wooden crates "which may contain trucks or tanks." The report said the consignment has been at Abidjan port for six months under "24/7" military surveillance.

The report by a monitoring group with the UN mission in Ivory Coast, UNOCI, detailed about 11 suspicious activities for international experts on the UN sanctions committee for the West African nation.

Neither the Zimbabwe mission at the UN, nor the United Nations would immediately comment on the report. World powers have expressed growing concern however that Ivory Coast is plunging back into civil war.

The UN apologized this week to Belarus for saying that it had delivered attack helicopters to Gbagbo's forces in contravention of the embargo. Diplomats say that while no consignment from Belarus may have arrived they are certain that one was planned.

And the Security Council said in a statement released since the apology that the UN mission must

"In recent weeks, pro-Gabgo forces have been engaged in killings, kidnappings, rape and torture, in an often-organized campaign of terror," said Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch.

"Countries violating the arms embargo to put weapons in their hands are fueling the fire and could be complicit in serious human rights violations. They should remember that Ivory Coast is on the International Criminal Court's radar."








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AFRICA NEWS
UN suspects Zimbabwe over I. Coast arms embargo
United Nations (AFP) March 4, 2011
UN experts are investigating suspected sanctions-busting arms deliveries from Zimbabwe to Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, according to a UN report. UN investigators are looking into "the arrival of light weapons cargoes from Zimbabwe" in December, said the report which has been handed over as clashes mount between followers of Gbabgo and internationally recognized president Alassane Ou ... read more

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