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Economy

Sh1.3bn heroin ship blown up 10 miles off Mombasa

The ship that brought in close to 373.8kg of heroin worth about Sh1.3 billion being destroyed on August 29, 2014 together with its deadly cargo 10 miles off Mombasa. A ship suspected to be carrying ammunition or narcotics could be destroyed. FILE PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP
The ship that brought in close to 373.8kg of heroin worth about Sh1.3 billion being destroyed on August 29, 2014 together with its deadly cargo 10 miles off Mombasa. A ship suspected to be carrying ammunition or narcotics could be destroyed. FILE PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The ship that brought in close to 400 kilogrammes of heroin in Mombasa was destroyed Friday afternoon together with its deadly cargo.

In the Kenya Navy-led operation that was witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and top security and anti-narcotic officials, the ship was sunk into the sea with 370.8kg of heroin worth about Sh1.3 billion.

The initial amount was 373.8kg but three kilos of the substance was taken away to the Government Chemist for further analysis.

The ship, known as Al Noor, was sunk at a zone known as Delta-16 which is designated for disposal of explosives within Kenya's territorial waters, blowing it up at 4.08pm.

Smoke billowed from the explosion that died within a minute. The area of the detonation is about 10 miles to the nearest point of land.

President Kenyatta was in one of the three military helicopters which carried top military and security officials.

The planes circled around the Kenya Navy war ship KNS Jasiri from where navy officers coordinated the operation.
The Head of State waved at the officers from the air and they in turn saluted him.

Aboard the ship was the Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss Ndegwa Muhoro and Deputy Inspector General of Police Grace Kaindi.

The unprecedented anti-narcotics operation started in the morning, with the packing of the heroin back into the ship which came into Mombasa from Pakistan and later it was loaded with detonators which were used to destroy it.

Also witnessing the exercise were top police bosses from the region who have been attending an annual conference at the Whitesands hotel.

Strong message

Opening the Mombasa ASK show on Thursday, President Kenyatta said the ship would be destroyed and it did not matter who owned it.

This he said, would be a signal and a strong message that Kenya would not allow drug trafficking on its territory.

Giving a briefing earlier soon after the heroin was packed into the ship, Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa and National Agency for Campaign Against Drugs (Nacada) chairman John Mututho warned that the government had declared total war on drug traffickers and would be ruthless with barons irrespective of their status.

Mr Mututho allayed fears the sinking of the ship and its contents would be a health hazard.

"It will be reduced to nothing by the heat. There will be no health hazard," he said.

Mr Marwa said the destruction of the ship should send a strong message that Kenya will deal ruthlessly with drug barons and their agents.

"We have to tell the world about the negative effective of drugs. If this amount of heroine had been released into Mombasa, you can imagine the number of all zombies it would have created in Mombasa,” he told journalists.

Mr Mututho warned drug dealers that the law would be implemented to the letter and those found guilty would have all their property seized.

He also asked police to ensure they seize and forfeit to the State vehicles whose owners have been sentenced after they are caught than sporting any form of narcotics.

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