Zambia seizes plane from Egypt with $5.7m and weapons on board

Ten people were detained, including six Egyptians, and cargo confiscated

The plane and its cargo wee seized at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, Zambia. AFP
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Authorities in Zambia have seized a private plane carrying $5.7 million, 602 pieces of suspected gold and five pistols with 126 rounds of ammunition.

Ten people, including one Zambian, six Egyptians and a Dutch citizen, are in custody.

"The aircraft was from Cairo, Egypt, and it was heading for Zambia ... and it was supposed to fly back again to Egypt. This is what we have now," the Drug Enforcement Commission's (DEC) director general Nason Banda told a press conference in the capital Lusaka.

Investigators said the detainees came to Zambia to carry out some business deals, according to Mr Banda.

"The Drug Enforcement Commission received information that a chartered aircraft carrying dangerous goods had landed at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport on August 13 at 7pm," the DEC said in a statement.

"Acting on this information, we, together with officers from various law enforcement agencies, conducted an operation which resulted in the seizure of five pistols, seven magazines, 126 rounds of ammunition, 602 pieces of suspected gold weighing 127.2kg and equipment for measuring gold."

Mines and Minerals Development Minister Paul Kabuswe said the "suspected" gold was being assessed as some had been coated, or plated in gold.

Mr Banda said the money was now in "the safe custody of the Bank of Zambia" and investigations were continuing.

Authorities also seized the plane, the Global Express T7-WW, on which the items were found, as well as another aircraft belonging to a Zambian airline.

Egyptian social media has been buzzing with news of the seized aircraft and its mysterious cargo.

Updated: August 20, 2023, 3:43 PM