Egypt: Army officer was on plane seized in Zambia, say reports

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An Egyptian army major was reportedly aboard a private plane carrying millions of dollars in cash, gold, and weapons, that was seized by Zambian authorities earlier this week, open-source investigations have alleged. The names of five Egyptians aboard the chartered plane were revealed in a leaked letter apparently sent by their lawyers to Nason Banda, the director general of Zambia’s Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC). The letter states that lawyers are acting on behalf of the named individuals and that they have been held in custody since 13 August.

One of the individuals mentioned in the letter reportedly worked as an assistant military attache with the title of a major at the Egyptian embassy in Washington in 2011 and 2012, according to US State Department archives. Another person named in the letter was a gold trader who owns several jewellery stores in Egypt.

Middle East Eye contacted the Egyptian embassy in Washington for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication. The private plane was flown to Zambia’s capital Lusaka from Cairo and seized by Zambian authorities on Tuesday. It was found to contain over $5.69m in cash, 602 suspected gold bars, and five handguns with 126 rounds of ammunition. Ten people aboard the plane – six Egyptians, a Dutchman, a Spaniard, a Latvian, and a Zambian citizen – were arrested pending further investigation.