NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – The Military on Monday denied reports that some of the tanks off-loaded from MV Faina that were spotted in Kapenguria, were headed for Southern Sudan.
Military Spokesman Bogita Ongeri told Capital News that three of the tanks seen there were headed for a battalion exercise in the North Rift and not Southern Sudan as alleged.
Residents in the North Rift region and other numerous sources had reported seeing the controversial tanks aboard trains and suggested that they were headed for the neighbouring country.
“There are only three tanks and they are headed for a battalion exercise in the North Rift. Not Southern Sudan. Those are rumours,” he told Capital News on telephone.
Mr Ongeri said the tanks purchased from the Ukraine are safely secured in the country and insisted that they belong to the Kenyan military.
“I have always told you this is our arsenal, it is going nowhere because it is meant to be used by our own military,” he said.
The tanks bearing Kenya Army registration numbers were ferried aboard trains from Nairobi last week and arrived in Kapenguria on Monday.
There have been reports that the military planned to ferry the tanks aboard trains to Kapenguria, from where they would be collected by Southern Sudan forces.
They are part of the 33 Russian tanks imported by the Kenyan military last year and only delivered in the country in February after a four-month hijacking ordeal in Somali waters.
The controversial T-72 tanks, rocket launchers and small arms came to the limelight when MV Faina, a ship that was ferrying them was seized by Somali pirates on September 25, 2008.
Some diplomats and maritime officials had suggested that they were owned by the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS).