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Chinese arms ship leaves Luanda after offloading building supplies


Johannesburg : The controversial Chinese ship carrying arms for the beleaguered government of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe left the Angolan port of Luanda after offloading cement and construction material, unions said.

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and the International Trade Union Confederation Tuesday said they had been informed by their members in Angola that the An Yue Jiang had restocked on fuel and food before leaving but made no attempt to offload its 77 tonnes of arms.

Police and union members, including port workers, had maintained watch over the ship while docked in Luanda, the ITF said in a statement.

It was unclear where the vessel was headed. It had been refused a berth in several southern African ports over fears the arms might be used against civilians in a post-election crackdown on the opposition in Zimbabwe.

Trade unions, rights activists, Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change and several African leaders had urged a boycott of the cargo.

China’s government said last month the vessel had been recalled by its owner after it failed to make delivery.