US  diplomat Gonzalez ends Malawi tour of duty, ‘no arrest’   but suitcase ‘detained’

United States (US) deputy chief of mission in Malawi Michael Gonzales has wrapped up his tour of duty in Lilongwe after the end of his three-year diplomatic term but his embassy said he “was not arrested” on departure as   reported only  confirming his luggage was detained .

Gonzelez: Luggage detained with ivory craving

Gonzelez: Luggage detained with ivory craving

Police at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe on Wednesday detained  the diplmat’s his suitcase after luggage screening machines detected what appeared to be an ivory carving in it.

US Embassy in Malawi confirmed that Gonzalez suitcase had merely been subjected to a thorough security check before the luggage and the diplomat got cleared and proceeded with the trip.

“As happens with all air passengers, his [Gonzales’] suitcase was scanned by authorities and the authorities saw something in the scan that warranted further inspection. They took the baggage aside and they opened it and they determined that the item was a very tiny one in the shape of an elephant.

“After further inspection, they determined that there was no reason for extra concern. The luggage was cleared and Mr. Gonvales departed as planned,” explained  US Embassy public affairs officer Edward Monster as quoted in the press.

But Gonzalez had to leave his carving in the hands of the airport police for further inspection.

The diplomat is set for a new posting in the US diplomatic service.

Malawi has tightened security at its airports and borders  to arrest illegal trade in wildlife trophies such as ivory.

The US embassy has since commended  Malawi authorities for noticing the questionable item in the suitcase of the diplomat, saying they should be doing  that with any potentially illegal item.

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Koma akanakhala m’blackiii! akanaona mazangazime.
The azungu perspective hm!

Mtumbuka Sanga

There is nothing or very little Malawi could have done here. Do you remember that teacher from England who was teaching at St Andrew International School in Blantyre? When he was imprisoned at Chichiri prison for sodomizing street kids, President Muluzi wobbled under pressure from a Western bullying nation and he released the pedophile under presidential pardon arrangement. Hypocrisy rules. Yes, Africans kill the elephants but where does ivory go?


This is embarassing


First they confirm he was arrested, now they deny and say he just screened? NY times did you interview airport staff to establish the facts?


Did the New York Times (which is NY Times) cover this story? Or you are referring to Nyasatimes? oh please!

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