Zimbabwe Arms Ship Heads Back to China

South African dock workers refuse to unload Chinese tanker
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2008 8:33 AM CDT
David Fombe is seen in a hospital bed at a private hospital in Harare, Wednesday, April, 23, 2008. Fombe claimed he was locked up in his house by suspected Zanu PF members who set the house on fire, after...   (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
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(Newser) – A Chinese ship with a cargo of arms and ammunition bound for Zimbabwe will indeed head back to China, the Chinese foreign ministry confirmed today, after Zimbabwe's neighbors refused to let the vessel dock. The decision is a victory for the coalition of trade unionists, religious leaders, and Western diplomats who united to block the armaments' delivery, reports the New York Times.

After the Zambian president, who heads a bloc of 14 nations in the region, spoke out against the shipment, dock workers in South Africa united to block the Chinese freighter from delivering its shipment of bullets, mortar rounds, and grenades to Robert Mugabe's landlocked nation. The Zimbabwean government has continued its crackdown on opposition figures, with youth militias beating people with iron bars and stones. Many feared the violence could become far more lethal if the arms were delivered.