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MV Faina expected Thursday

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 10 – The government says MV Faina, the weapons-laden Ukrainian Ship freed by Somali pirates last week will dock in Mombasa on Thursday.

In a statement, Government Spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua said that the military cargo ‘will be transported to a military base,’ a move aimed at calming speculations that the cargo was originally not destined to Kenya.

"The ship ferrying Kenya weapons, MV Faina is not expected to dock in Mombasa until Thursday, February 12, 2009. Media will be allowed to cover the arrival and movement of the Kenyan arsenal," the statement on Dr Mutua’s website said.

The ship was released last Thursday after the payment of a Sh262 million ransom to Somali pirates who have been holding the vessel since September last year.

The government has come under pressure to explain the shipment and its intended destination, which is allegedly Southern Sudan and not Kenya.

The Ukrainian ship is carrying a controversial cargo of 33 Soviet-era battle tanks, crates of light and heavy weapons, as well as other weaponry.

The Kenyan Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, which has been investigating the cargo mystery, has petitioned the government to clear the air on the controversy surrounding the real owners of the military equipment aboard the freighter.

MV Faina is said to be on the high seas, under the escort of American warships to ensure it docks safely at the port of Mombasa.

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