Sudan's Rapid Support Forces have seized 241 kilograms of gold from a Moroccan plane flying from the country's River Nile state, which landed in the capital Khartoum.
Major General Othman Mohamed said that only 93 kilograms of the gold on board the plane has an export license, while the legal status of the remaining quantity has not been clarified. The Major General explained: "We must deliver this large amount [of gold] to the Bank of Sudan, and then we will go on with the necessary legal procedures."
Mohamed did not name the private Moroccan company which had allowed the exportation of the gold, nor did he give further details. However, he pointed out that the status of the company in Sudan is legal and registered.
Meanwhile, Moroccan news website Hespress reported that the plane was loaded with huge amounts of gold belonging to Moroccan company MANAGEM, which has long been active in the mining industry across the African continent.
Sudan produces 100 tonnes of gold every year and gold mines are a major source of foreign currency in the country. However, it is believed that about 70 per cent of Sudan's gold production is being smuggled out of the country, as producers try to circumvent regulations requiring gold to be sold to the central bank in local currency at a price much lower than that which can be reached on the black market.
Sudan's Rapid Support Forces declared that Thursday's seizure of the gold was intended to protect the national economy and preserve the country's resources and wealth. Hespress, however, claimed the Sudanese forces stopped the plane because it had not acquired permission to fly, not because of smuggling gold.