SA 'may have used relief planes to ferry weapons'

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HARARE (Reuter) - South Africa may have used chartered Russian aircraft intended for drought-relief flights to ferry weapons to Unita rebels in Angola since the election in September, the Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) said.

The AAM honorary secretary, Abdul Minti, said yesterday it was possible Pretoria used Safair, a South African company with links to the military, to carry the weapons to Angola, violating neighbouring countries' air space.

'This is why they can deny that it was South African aircraft because these were overflights by Safair,' Mr Minti said. He alleged that Safair had links to the South African army and said use of the company could explain why the planes gave two identification codes - one military and the other civilian. South Africa last week denied charges by Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique of regular unauthorised overflights and said it was not supplying arms to Jonas Savimbi's Unita, its former client.