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And the shipping company handling the consignment, that was held briefly in Angola, said the containers were properly declared contrary to earlier reports.
Maersk Lines Limited spokesperson Kevin Speers, in an email, said the four containers in question consist of ammunition, which was properly declared when the vessel arrived in Lobito, Angola.
“The containers were in plain view, and in fact, before entering the harbour, the vessel raised the internationally recognised flag indicating hazardous cargo was on board,” Mr Speers said.
He denied claims that the cargo was concealed. The ship was in Lobito for 12 days offloading food aid before Angolan authorities raised discrepancies with the documentation, Mr Speers said.
“Maersk Line Limited along with the crew have fully cooperated with Angolan authorities as they have verified the documentation and inspected the ship. We will continue to cooperate with Angolan authorities and work with US government officials until the ship is under way,” Mr Speers said.
However, he did not explain the itinerary of the ship, Maersk Constellation, or the expected date of arrival in Mombasa. He also declined to disclose who the consignee of the four containers was.
Military spokesperson Bogita Ongeri said the military frequently bought weapons through various agents. The ownership of the consignment could only be explained when it arrives at Mombasa port, he said.
Government spokesman Alfred Mutua said the consignment was for use by the Kenyan military. This rekindled memories of another arms shipment whose documents showed it was destined for Southern Sudan but the government insisted it was for the Kenyan military.
The ship transporting the 33 Russian made tanks was hijacked by pirates and the crew held hostage for months before being released.
The military later made a public show of receiving the tanks. If the shipment to Southern Sudan had been confirmed, Kenya would have been in violation of UN resolutions outlawing arms sale to the whole of Sudan.
The latest shipment had raised questions when it was suggested that it contained bullets when the Kenyan military industry produces them for their use.
Earlier reports said the vessel was detained at the port of Lobito after Angolan authorities questioned part of its cargo.
PARASTATAL heads who signed the Mombasa port community charter risk being sacked if their agencies do not deliver on the contents of the new entity. The charter signed between the government and the private sector aims at improving the movement of cargo from the port into hinterland