Ukraine denies pirate ship arms bound for Sudan

17:42, 08 October 2008
Ukraine
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BBC misinterpreted the acronym?

Ukraine joined Kenya on Wednesday to deny a report that a shipment of 33 tanks and other arms was destined for Sudan, AFP reported.

The BBC on Tuesday carried a picture of the purported freight manifest showing the initials GOSS, an acronym the British broadcaster suggested stood for the Government of South Sudan, where it said the weapons were heading.

"The cited acronym... is that of a department of the Kenyan Ministry of Defence, the General Ordnance Supply and Security," said a statement issued by Ukrainian state-owned arms exporter Ukrspetsexport.

Kenya`s foreign minister also claimed that BBC had misinterpreted the acronym.

"I have personally seen the bill of lading that is posted on the BBC website and it is purely speculative," minister Moses Wetangula told reporters after a meeting with Somali Foreign Minister Ali Jama Jangeli.

"That is the correct document but it was misinterpreted. The initials shown in that cargo manifest do not in any way show that the military cargo was destined for Southern Sudan," he said, also claiming the correct acronym was General Ordnance Supply and Security.

The identity of the final recipient of the shipment 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.

Kenya announced Wednesday it would send its navy join other foreign vessels surrounding the ship as pirates try to secure a ransom for its release.

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

AFP

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