avion, cargo plane, US.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Matthew Allen Hecht, used under Public domain

Zimbabwean police have arrested six crew members of a US cargo plane after a body was found on board, police said Monday.

The body was believed to belong to a stowaway, said the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), for which the plane was carrying a "consignment."

The MD-11 aircraft of Florida-based Western Global Airlines left Munich late Saturday en route to Durban, South Africa, said Florian Steuer, a spokesman for the German airport.

He could not confirm if a stopover was planned in Harare, where Zimbabwean authorities say the plane landed for refuelling on Sunday.

It was not clear what the plane was transporting, but Zimbabwean police sources said it had large amounts of South African rand on board.

The crew were arrested after a male body was discovered on the plane and the crew were unable to produce documents to account for its presence, according to Zimbabwean police and aviation officials.

Police sources said the body was dripping with blood.

South Africa's ambassador to Zimbabwe, Vusi Mavimbela, said the crew had "professed ignorance" on how the body got on the plane. Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said the authorities were investigating that.

Zimbabwean Transport Minister Joram Gumbo said Zimbabwe and South Africa were handling the case at a diplomatic level.

Mavimbela said the crew included two South African employees of the country's reserve bank who were accompanying the consignment. The nationalities of the other crew members were not clear.

"The SARB is working with the relevant authorities to ensure that the cargo is released and transported to South Africa," said Pradeep Maharaj, an executive of the reserve bank, in a statement.

Western Global Airlines told dpa that "the situation is under review" and that a statement would be released as soon as "the facts are known."

The body was taken for autopsy, Charamba said.

"It is safe to wait for the case to go to court on Monday or Tuesday. Details will be clearer then," Home Affairs Minister Ignatious Chombo told dpa.

Related stories

Latest news

White House bars major news outlets from press briefing

The New York Times, CNN and Politico were among the organizations blocked from Friday's so-called gaggle, or informal briefing, according to reporters from those outlets. Representatives of the Associated Press and Time magazine boycotted the meeting in a show of solidarity, according to the Times.

Report: German intelligence spied on BBC, other foreign journalists

Germany's intelligence agency monitored foreign journalists at the BBC, the New York Times and other news organizations from 1999 onwards across several countries, according to a Friday report from Der Spiegel magazine.

Classroom for Islamic religious education opened in Split

A classroom for Islamic religious education, whose equipment was financially assisted by city and county authorities, was opened in the coastal city of Split on Friday.

Ministry say no licences for export of military goods to Saudi Arabia issued in 2016

The Economy, Enterprise and Crafts Ministry on Friday issued a statement regarding media reports about export licences for military goods, stressing that in 2016 it did not issue any licences for the export of military goods to Saudi Arabia.

Croatia for preserving Bosnia's stability

Croatia on Friday supported the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), calling on its authorities to adopt decisions in institutions, after a request by BiH Presidency Bosniak member Bakir Izetbegovic to review a ruling which acquitted Serbia of genocide.

Mexico is not a migrant "waiting room" for US, interior minister says

Mexico will not accept undocumented immigrants from other countries whom the United States plans to deport, Mexico's interior minister said Friday.

Right-wing populist Wilders declines first Dutch election debate

Candidates from nine Dutch parties answered questions from journalists Friday at the first national radio debate of the election campaign, but the leading candidate

Bosnian Croat reps insist on channel airing programmes in Croatian

Being one of the constituent peoples, the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina are entitled to a broadcaster that will air programmes in their native language, HNS BiH official Ivan Vukoja said at a news conference in Mostar on Friday.

Same-sex couples in Slovenia can marry

A Slovenian law allowing same-sex couples to marry went into force on Friday and the first civil registrar ceremony, between two women, is to take place in Maribor on Saturday, the town's Vecer daily said.

Moody's changes Agrokor's outlook to negative

The Moody's rating agency on Friday changed its outlook for the Agrokor food retailer from stable to negative, affirming its rating of B3.

Trump says he represents America, 'not the globe'

US President Donald Trump said Friday his aim is to serve the United States and not the rest of the world, doubling down on his "America First" message in wide-ranging remarks to a conservative conference.

Croat member of Bosnia's state presidency says crisis won't escalate

The Croat member of Bosnia and Herzegovina's collective State Presidency, Dragan Covic, said on Friday that the crisis caused by the unilateral submission of a request for a review of the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) genocide ruling from 2007 against Serbia would not escalate into an armed conflict.