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Zimbabwe Seizes Military Equipment on US-Registered Plane - 2004-03-08

Zimbabwean authorities say they have seized a U.S.-registered cargo plane, which was carrying military equipment and sixty-four foreigners they term "suspected mercenaries." A U.S. State Department spokesman says there is no indication the plane has any connection with the U.S. government although it appears to be U.S. registered.

The seizure of the plane was announced Monday by Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi. The minister said the Boeing 727 was held at Harare International Airport on Sunday evening after those on board made a false declaration of its cargo and crew.

Mr. Mohadi described those on board as 'suspected mercenaries' of different nationalities. He did not give any more information, saying more details would be made available as soon as the true identities of the men and their mission were revealed.

State-run television showed a white plane with various cargo including an inflatable raft and paddles, but no weapons. Mr. Mohadi said the plane was moved to a military base.