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Cape Verde

Cape Verde airliner throws out PM

afrol News, 17 June - The national airliner of Cape Verde, TACV, this week asked the country's Prime Minister José Maria Neves to leave one of its planes. The reason was that the captain did not want transport members of Mr Neves' security guards, which were carrying arms.

The events occurred this weekend as security agents accompanying the Prime Minister of Cape Verde on a trip to the island of São Vicente with the national carrier Transportadora Aérea do Cabo Verde (TACV) were rejected by the pilot.

The security agents wanted to enter the aircraft with their arms, holding these were necessary to protect the chief of government, who was already inside the airplane. However, the pilot refused to take the armed guards on board, leading to the abortion of the PM's flight to São Vicente.

However, after some negotiation at the Praia airport, the head of government reached an agreement with the national airliner and TACV made another aircraft available to Mr Neves. The PM and his armed guards thus were allowed to go to São Vicente, arriving four hours behind schedule.

Following the incident, which has attracted great attention by media in Cape Verde, the Praia government today announced that it would lodge a protest with the airline as a result of this "surprising and regrettable incident."

The government statement added that it expected that "legislation and directives applicable in this regard be strictly observed and followed by those responsible." It further holds that "all routines and special boarding procedures for transporting weapons in the cabin of the aircraft on this mission were, as usual, respected."

The same sources added that the commander of the PM's security personnel had requested the necessary permission last Thursday, obtaining such permission the next day. The commander added that the attitude of the captain had been unacceptable.

TACV still is majority controlled by the Cape Verdean government. The small national airliner, which has produced losses for years, is being beefed up financially to prepare for its privatisation in 2009. Originally, privatisation was foreseen for 2007, but no interesting buyers were found.

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