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Arms ship unloads construction material

A Chinese ship loaded with arms destined for Zimbabwe has left Luanda, Angola, after unloading construction material, two trade union federations said on Tuesday.

”The An Yue Jiang left Luanda after unloading a cargo of cement and construction material only. No attempt was made to unload any armaments, and it sailed after taking on fuel and food,” said the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) in a statement.

The federations were informed by their fellow trade unionists in Angola.

”Trade unionists, including from the Port Workers’ Union, maintained a watch on the ship and what came off and went on the ship throughout its stay in port.”

The police were also present until the ship left port and the ITF promised to update information on its whereabouts on Wednesday.

The ship was carrying a consignment of arms destined for Zimbabwe. The ship was authorised to unload in Luanda only ”merchandise destined for Angola”, after it was barred from offloading in South Africa following a court banning the arms from being transported through the country’s territory to Zimbabwe, three weeks ago.

Human rights groups feared the arms could be used as part of a government crackdown on opposition supporters in Zimbabwe following a dispute in parliamentary and presidential elections on March 29.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is still to announce a run-off date after it released the presidential election results five weeks after polling.

Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party is yet to announce whether its leader will take part in the second round after insisting that it won an overall majority in the first round of voting.

The ZEC results released on Friday showed that Tsvangirai won 47,9% against 43,2% for President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF. – Sapa

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