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Hijacked Ship Linked to Sudan

Financial Times

30 September 2008

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A pirate attack on a ship transporting military tanks off the coast of Somalia has connected two of Africa's worst conflict zones by throwing a spotlight on the south Sudanese army's rearmament programme.

Kenya has said the 33 Russian-made tanks on board the hijacked vessel were destined for its own armed forces, but its claims have been challenged by several sources who said they were to be transported through Kenya to south Sudan.

(…) pirates claimed to have found documents showing the T-72 tanks were destined for south Sudan. They have demanded a ransom of $20m (€14m, £11m) for the ship, its cargo and crew.

An African military official working in south Sudan and a government adviser in Khartoum said the south was in the midst of a big rearmament programme before a referendum on independence due in 2011.

ID: N836

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