Maputo — Contrary to claims made by Mozambican government spokesmen, the armoured cars bearing United Nations insignia were produced, not in South Africa, but in the southern Mozambican city of Matola.
An item on the website of the United Nations office in Maputo states that the vehicles were assembled in Matola, and are the first in a contract for 100 such vehicles.
The 14 armoured cars went from the Matola factory to the port of Maputo, and from there they will be exported, not to Somalia or the Democratic Republic of Congo (as the newspaper “A Verdade” had claimed), but to the join the UN peace keeping mission in Mali.
The contract to produce these vehicles is supported by the US State Department, and the company operating in Matola is Dyncorp International, an American company that specializes in security equipment.
According to a report in Thursday's issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”, the US has agreed to purchase armoured cars for seven West African countries that are supporting the UN mission in Mali, at a cost of over 173 million US dollars.
The UN statement contradicts the bluster of the General Commander of the Mozambican police, Jorge Khalau, who on Tuesday claimed that the vehicles were in the country clandestinely and the company manufacturing them was South African and unregistered. He said the vehicles had been seized in the port, and that the authorities did not know where their destination, “but they will have to go back”. He threatened that unspecified “measures” will be taken.
However, Defence Minister Agostinho Mondlane saw nothing illegal in the armoured cars. He told reporters “they are in transit and they are only here to use the port of Maputo”.
But even Mondlane did not know that the vehicles had been assembled in Matola, and was under the mistaken impression that they had come from South Africa.