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Malawi intercepts Tanzania boat, arrests 16

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Malawi Police in Karonga on Thursday last week seized a passenger boat on Lake Malawi belonging to Tanzania and arrested 16 people.

This has happened amid an on-going mediation talks between the two countries over territorial dispute of Lake Malawi and days after reports that the East African country is deploying three passenger and cargo ships on the lake.

However, police in Karonga quickly delinked the boat seizure and the arrests from the lake row.

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The Daily Times has learnt that the seized 40 horse power boat was smuggling goods from Malawi to Tanzania.

Karonga Police spokesperson Enock Livason confirmed this development pointing out that the boat was carrying 10 cows, 93 iron sheets, 110 Mosquito nets, 14 cartons of small liquor bottles, and assorted medical drugs among other things.

“They begun to appear in court today [Tuesday] on various offenses including being found in possession of property suspected to have been stolen and exporting goods without licence among others,” he said.

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While Tanzanian online media reports indicate that 13 of the 16 are Tanzanians, Livason says only three are Tanzanians and the rest are Malawians.

“It has to be clear that this has nothing to do with the on-going talks between Malawi and Tanzania over territorial issues of the lake. We have seized this boat as part of our normal police operations following a tip that the smuggling has been happening for quite a long time,” he emphasised.

Last weekend, our sister paper, Malawi News reported that there are reports that the Tanzanian ports Authority (TPA) will deploy a 350-tonne passanger cargo ship, which is part of a $12.3 million project into lake Nyasa ( as Lake Malawi is known in Tanzania) in August this year.

According to Itungi- Kyela port manager, Percival Salama, the other two cargo barges with a capacity to carry 1,300 tonnes of cargo each will be constructed and commissioned between August and October 2017.

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