Plane to take more weapons to Zim

2008-04-22 00:00

PRETORIA — A second shipment of considerably more sophisticated Chinese weaponry destined for Zimbabwe will be flown to Harare from China within the next week.

It will be taken by aircraft to expedite the delivery and to circumvent the controversy that surrounds the other shipment.

The decision apparently was made yesterday by Zimbabwean military generals during an emergency meeting.

According to sources, the meeting took place because the generals were apparently worried that any further delays would disrupt the delivery of the really big guns.

Both orders apparently were placed only weeks ago.

The paperwork for the ship carrying the weapons, the An Yue Jiang, was finalised in Beijing on April 1 — three days after the Zimbabwean elections.

The recent step to use an aircraft was also taken to keep the nature and extent of the load secret from the outside world.

“There is no way that anyone is going to determine what will be delivered,” said the source.

“What is known is that the kind of weaponry in the second consignment, which is manufactured in Shenzhen, is highly sophisticated and not just the kind of basic mortars and ammunition that’s on the ship.”

Shenzhen is one of China’s core manufacturing cities.

Shortly after the Durban High Court issued an order against the transport of the weapons across SA territory, the ship weighed anchor and fled.

Since then, it has cruised around Cape Point and was already off towards Namibia by early yesterday morning.

The generals apparently decided that this consignment can take its time, but that the delivery of the second consignment could not be postponed.

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