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Sunday, February 7, 1999 Published at 08:25 GMT

World: Africa

Albanian 'king' in arms probe

Leka launched a failed attempt to become king in 1997

Albania's exiled pretender to the throne, Leka Zogu, has been arrested in South Africa after a raid on his Johannesburg home uncovered a large arms cache.

He and three other foreigners will appear in court on Monday on charges of possessing illegal firearms.

Police say they seized more than 70 weapons with 14,000 rounds of ammunition on Friday evening. The arsenal included AK47 rifles, grenade launchers and anti-personnel mines.

[ image: Police say they found these guns at Leka's home]
Police say they found these guns at Leka's home
On Thursday the South African authorities revoked Leka's diplomatic privileges, which were granted to him in l991 by the apartheid government.

Leka was two-days-old when his father, King Zog, fled Albania in 1939. King Zog designated his son his successor before his death in 1961.

After spending most of his life in exile, part of it in South Africa, Leka went to Albania in 1997 in a failed campaign to take the throne.

But voters rejected a proposal to restore the monarchy in a referendum in June that year.

Tirana accused Leka of organising an armed insurrection following his defeat, before he fled back into exile.

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