International Social

Details of How a German Shipment of 6 Million Masks Disappeared in Nairobi

If you are looking for people to carry out a major heist in the world, Nairobi ranks among the best places to scout for talent.

And the talent is not just on paper, but through some practical experience. Some of the high and mighty have learnt this the hard way. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai recently lost gold worth USD 400 million, El Chapo once lost a consignment of drugs worth USD 1.2 billion while in transit, while Israeli army once lost two stealth aircraft in Kenya airspace which disappeared without a trace, although the pilots were found lost somewhere in Kenya with no recollection of what happened.

Even several movies have been inspired by events that once happened in Nairobi.

The Federal Republic of Germany knows this very well after 6 million facemasks that had been procured by the German army disappeared in the city without a trace – six million of them! So huge was the heist that considering that Kenya has a population of 47 million people, you would expect that someone has had an eye on them, but nope! Gone without a trace.

How it Unfolded

Just like shopping on Amazon, nobody gives much thought to the details involved in shipping. You buy, then wait for the goods at the doorstep. It appears that governments also do this all the time.

Germany ordered for 6 million masks and never really bothered with the details. When the container landed in Hamburg, it was empty. Where did the protective masks go?

A quick research unraveled the mystery. The container with the masks was alright until it reached Nairobi. To be fair, it seemed OK even after Nairobi because all the seals were intact. But there was one major change; the weight of the container.

While a container has tare weight of 3,750 kg, and 29 tons when carrying three million million masks, the containers arrived in Nairobi weighing 29 tons and left weighing 3.75 tons. Nowhere was there a sign of tampering, opening or exchange of the container, meaning that the cargo simply mysteriously disappeared without a trace.

The CCTV cameras do not show any strange occurrence. No one tampered with the container; the masks simply evaporated into the thin air.

Security experts in Germany are spending sleepless nights trying to figure out what happened, but are too afraid to travel to Nairobi and find out. Nobody wants to risk their life investigating a blackhole.


No one has claimed responsibility. However, Kenyans who were panicking due to the shortage of crucial equipment meant to care for Covid-19 patients have now calmed down, and seem to be at peace.

One thing that Kenyans agree is that the masks are not in Kenya.

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