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Last Updated: Friday, 24 March 2006, 11:14 GMT
Kenya stalls cocaine incineration
By Karen Allen
BBC, Nairobi

A Kenyan soldier guards seized cocaine
The cocaine cache was worth more than $80m
A Kenyan court has delayed Friday's planned destruction of the country's biggest cocaine haul, seized in 2004.

The director of public prosecutions, backed by UK and US diplomats, applied to delay the testing and incineration of 1.1 metric tons of cocaine.

The delay will allow international monitors to oversee the operation at the end of next week.

There are concerns that some of the consignment may have found its way onto the international drugs market.

Dramatic appeal

The Kenyan authorities planned to destroy more than 900 packets of cocaine on Friday.

But in a dramatic 11th-hour appeal, Kenya's director of public prosecutions secured a delay until international monitors can oversee the testing at the end of next week.

The drugs have been kept under 24-hour guard at a military facility in the capital, Nairobi, ever since being seized in December 2004.

There are fears in intelligence circles and among Kenyan drug agencies that part of the consignment may have found its way to Europe.

Since the cocaine was seized, a number of Kenyan Airways staff have been arrested as they tried to bring cocaine into the UK.

Among the questions being asked in the UK is whether the cocaine seized from these individuals in London is the same as the batch that is supposed to be under close guard in the Kenyan capital.

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