The German army’s six million face masks “stolen” at an airport in Nairobi
NAIROBI, Kenya – Officials from Germany are trying to track a shipment of face masks, reports say, which reportedly disappeared at a Nairobi airport in unclear circumstances.
The over six million face masks for the German army are said to have disappeared at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport [JKIA], East Africa’s arguably largest airport.
Der Spiegel magazine said that the transport, intended for the European country’s health workers, would take place in Germany on March 20 but was never delivered as expected by the authorities.
But the magazine did not share more details about how the shipment found it was the way in Nairobi or where the Berlin authorities had ordered the shipment.
“The authorities are trying to find out what happened,” a German Defense Ministry spokeswoman told Reuters news agency in relation to the mysterious disappearance.
Another government source is quoted as saying: “Whether this [is] a matter of theft or a non-serious supplier is cleared up by the customs. “
Germany is fighting the coronavirus pandemic just like many countries in the world. By Tuesday, over 30,000 people had tested positive with the deaths of 130, officials say.
But in Kenya, where the shipment is believed to have been stolen, the country has registered 25 positive COVID-19 cases and no deaths so far. International arrivals and departures have been banned at JKIA.
A statement on Twitter by the Kenya Airports Authority [KAA], the authority responsible for the ports, removed claims that the transfer was lost in Nairobi and allowed “thorough investigations” to be made.
“Our investigation has concluded that there were no cargoes of this type that have gone through JKIA over the past two weeks and that no missing cargo has been reported to the authorities,” the tweet says.
Adding that the reports were “fake” news, the agency insisted that normal operations at the freight department will continue uninterrupted. The government did not prohibit activities on the freight section.
“We therefore want to inform the public that we are treating this report of alleged disappearance of six million FFP2 protective masks as fake news and that our freight section will continue with normal operation.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government had recently ordered nearly € 241 million [$262 million] worthy of medical masks, other protective equipment and materials to deal with a potential defect in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak.
As of Tuesday, over 330,000 positive COVID-19 cases had been reported worldwide with the deaths of 16,000. Italy is the worst affected and accounts for half of the total deaths.
Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, accused China’s Communist Party of “being economical” with the truth about how the pandemic can be controlled. China was the first to register the cases.
But in recent weeks, the number of new infections has drastically decreased, making Washington DC believe “China manufactured” the virus. President Donald Trump calls it “Chinese virus,” a statement that has made Beijing angry.