Skip to main content

Zambia seizes Egyptian plane carrying millions in cash, gold and weapons

Officials said the private plane was carrying $5.69m in cash, 602 suspected gold bars and five pistols with ammunition
The Zambia Drug Control Authority shared pictures of the seizure on its official Facebook page (Social media)

Zambian authorities seized a private Egyptian plane on Tuesday carrying $5.69m in cash, 602 suspected gold bars and five handguns with 126 rounds of ammunition.

Zambian officials said on Tuesday that the chartered plane was flown to Lusaka from Cairo, and 10 people - six Egyptians, a Dutchman, a Spaniard, a Latvian and a Zambian citizen - were arrested pending further investigation. 

The director general of the Zambia Drug Control Authority, Nason Banda, told reporters that the suspected gold weighed 127.2 kilograms. 

"Together with officers from various law enforcement agencies we conducted an operation which resulted in the seizure," Banda said.

Later, Paul Kabuswe, Zambia's minister for mines and minerals development, said the gold bars were gold coated and composed of copper, zinc, tin and nickel.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


"The comprehensive analysis was actually done in our labs and what they found in terms of content was that those bars contained copper in the range of 58 to 61 percent and zinc in the range of 38 to 41 percent," Kabuswe said.

Egyptian authorities have not commented on the Zambian operation and Egyptian media outlets which initially reported on the seizure have since deleted the news clippings.

According to the Zambian Observer website there may have been at least four other planes at the airport which may have been related to the confiscated plane.  

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.