- (Reuters) -- Zimbabwe has seized a U.S.-registered cargo
plane with 64 suspected mercenaries of various nationalities and a cargo
of "military materiel," Home Affairs (Interior) Minister Kembo
Mohadi said on Monday.
- "A United States of America-registered Boeing 727-100
cargo plane was detained last night at about 1930 hours (12:30 ET) at Harare
International Airport after its owners had made a false declaration of
its cargo and crew," Mohadi said in a statement.
- "The plane was actually carrying 64 suspected mercenaries
of various nationalities," he said, adding that an investigation had
also revealed "military materiel" in the cargo.
- Mohadi said fuller investigations were under way to establish
the identity of the men and the nature of their mission. There was no word
on where the airplane arrived from, or whether Zimbabwe was its destination.
- Mohadi said a fuller statement would be released "in
- Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Harare could not be
reached for comment.
- Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has been engaged in
a bitter war of words with both the United States and Britain, which have
accused him of a political crackdown following his victory in the 2002
presidential elections, which the opposition and Western observers said
- Mugabe in turn accuses Western powers of attempting to
undermine his government in retaliation for his controversial seizure of
white-owned farms for distribution to landless blacks.
- Once one of the most prosperous countries in southern
Africa, Zimbabwe now faces regular shortages of food, fuel and foreign
exchange as well as soaring rates of inflation and high unemployment.
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