Junta swaps ivory for arms

HARARE - Robert Mugabe's military junta has illegally sold more than eight tonnes of ivory to China as part payment for a consignment of arms supplies that provoked an international storm this week.

The Zimbabwean heard that the cash-strapped military junta had in March this year flown to China ivory worth US$1 million as part payment for thousands of AK rifles, shipped from Beijing around the same time.

The Geneva-based secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), to which Zimbabwe belongs, had already begun investigating the alleged illicit ivory sale which, if found true, could be a serious breach of CITES rules.

Zimbabwe this week dismissed the allegations.

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