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Tanks seized by pirates 'destined for South Sudan'

Latest update : 2008-10-08

The BBC has reported that the cargo of tanks captured by pirates off the Somali coast were destined for South Sudan. Kenya insists it ordered the weapons.

The shipment of battle tanks on a Ukrainian ship seized by Somali pirates last month was destined for South Sudan, the BBC said Tuesday, citing a document it said was the vessel's freight manifest.

The identity of the shipment's final recipient has been the subject of controversy, with several parties and experts claiming it was headed for South Sudan and Kenya insisting the cargo was its own.

On September 25, pirates seized the MV Faina, a Ukrainian ship carrying 33 Soviet-type battle tanks, anti-air systems, rocket launchers and ammunition.

The BBC carried a picture of the purported freight/cargo manifest showing contract references for arms corresponding to the description of the cargo known to have been seized with the ship.

The consignee is referred to as the "Ministry of Defence (MOD), Republic of Kenya" but the initials GOSS appear next to MOD in contract numbers, suggesting the end-user may be the Government of South Sudan (GOSS).

The document published by the BBC could not be immediately authenticated by independent sources.

Despite growing calls, the Kenyan government has not yet produced an end-user certificate proving that the shipment is indeed intended to the ministry of defence for an upgrade of its military hardware.


Date created : 2008-10-07