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Kenya frees seized Norwegian vessel after UN intervention

The Kenyan government on Saturday released the Norwegian ship which it had detained at the Mombasa port for allegedly trafficking undeclared weapons.

Cliff Ombeta, lawyer representing the seized MV Hoegh Transporter,said the government released the vessel after the diplomatic intervention with UN. The ship was allowed to sail to Tanzania.

“We are contemplating suing the state for damage and illegal detention of the crew for eight days. The action by the State has dented the name of shipping line and led to loss of money,” Ombeta told Xinhua in Mombasa.

Kenya’s Coast Regional Police Commander Francis Wanjohi confirmed that the firearms have been handed over to UN.

“We have officially released the ship and handed over the consignment of UN military tanks and assorted weapons to be transported to DR Congo,” Wanjohi said.

On Thursday, the UN claimed ownership of weapons recovered in a ship, saying that the weapons are legitimately acquired.

The UN also expressed its disappointment that the Kenyan authority went ahead to search the vessel without involving officials from the world body.

“It is unfortunate that the Kenyan authorities inspected the cargo without a UN presence which runs contrary to established protocol and provisions surrounding privileges and immunities,” it said.

The Kenyan police also recovered substance suspected to be drugs. However, the government test on the substance later showed negative.

Senior anti narcotic officer involved in the operation said the crystal white substance is not cocaine as early claimed by Kenya authorities.

The vessel, carrying UN vehicles from Mumbai, India destined for the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was seized on Sept. 17 when assorted weapons stashed in tyres of vehicles were found.

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Posted By Bobricky On 10:13 Sat, 26 Sep 2015

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