Police confirms shipment of Swaziland-bound weapons via Maputo Port
March 4th, 2011
APA - Maputo (Mozambique) Mozambique police have confirmed that a cache of arms stored in two containers in the port of Maputo was in transit to Swaziland, under an agreement between the Mozambican and Swazi governments, the official Mozambique News Agency [AIM] reported on Friday (4 March 2011).
The local media had reported this week about the discovery of “guns and drugs” in containers in the port leading to the Customs and Police departments denying any knowledge of a shipment of weapons in the Maputo port.
AIM said there was no sign of any drugs in the containers while claiming that the discovered weapons have been legitimately imported by the Swazi government.
The agency said the weaponry arrived at the port on Monday on board the ship “MSC Chaneca" from an unspecified country but later attempts to verify the veracity of this claim found through the internet found that the “Chaneca” is registered in Panama and that its last port of call was Durban, in South Africa.
The vessel is operated by the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), which according to AIM does not explain which country the weapons had originated or where they were loaded.
According to AIM, given the nature of the cargo, the police will escort it to the Swazi border, where it will be handed over to the Swazi authorities in line with a request from the authorities in Mbabane that the containers be allowed to land in Maputo, and then taken overland in secure conditions to Swaziland.
AIM quoted an anonymous police source as saying that this was not the first time that landlocked countries in southern Africa have imported weapons via Mozambican ports.
For instance, Malawi has imported weaponry via Beira, and a Mozambican police escort was used to ensure that the shipment reached the Malawian border safely, the source added.
ARMS SHIPMENT HEADS TO SWAZILAND