The United Nation Panel of Experts (PoE) monitoring international compliance with the arms embargo on South Sudan says Uganda, Ukraine, Egypt and arms dealer based in the Seychelles have violated the arms embargo by supplying weapons that have perpetuated the conflict.
In a report released in mid-April, the PoE said “On or about 27 January 2017, an Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft departed from Kharkiv airport, Ukraine, bound for Gulu in Uganda. The aircraft manifest indicated that it contained two L-39 jets and engines provided by Musket OU, a company based in Tallinn, that were overhauled, and that the flight was operated by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.
“Subsequently, the Government of Ukraine confirmed to the Panel that the two jets were listed as being operated by the Ugandan military and that the end user certificates indicated that the aircraft were to be used only for advanced pilot training,” the report stated.
The Panel is investigating allegations that the aircraft were transported to South Sudan following reports that there is a new military aircraft with obscured markings parked at Juba International Airport.
The panel is probing the role of Hungarian fighter jet pilot Tibor Czingáli. Since 2012, Czingali is known to be contracted by the Ugandan Air Force, but has allegedly been seen flying South Sudanese L-39 aircraft.
“Given Czingáli’s roles in both South Sudan and Uganda, and photographic evidence of the L-39 jet he operated in South Sudan, the Panel is investigating whether jets based in Uganda have been operated in South Sudan.
The panel also interviewed Pierre Dadak, a jailed Polish arms dealer who revealed that between January and June 2014, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) approached him seeking 40 000 AK-47 rifles, 200 000 boxes of AK-47 ammunition, 30 000 PKM machine guns, 3 000 anti-tank rounds, 300 anti-tank guns and 300 anti-aircraft guns.
“The Panel has recently received documentation from a confidential source that details a contract, signed in June 2014 by two National Security Service officers, for a company based in Seychelles to provide weapons to the Internal Security Bureau of the Service, headed by Akol Koor. The contract sum is for $264 million, covering a very large quantity of heavy weapons, small arms and ammunition.
“Among the items listed are 30 T-55 tanks, 20 ZU-23 anti-aircraft weapons, 5 000 rounds of T-55 tank ammunition, 10 BM-21 “Grad” rocket systems, 10 000 122-mm M21OF rockets, 3 000 S8 rockets for Russian-made Mi-24 attack helicopters, 20 million rounds of 7.62x39mm ammunition, 50 000 AK-47 assault rifles and 12 000 RPG-7 rounds. The Panel is investigating this order to establish whether it was executed as outlined.”
Further, the panel said independent sources had indicated that the border areas between South Sudan, the Sudan and Uganda remain key entry points for arms. More weapons are reportedly flowing in from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The panel said there were ‘persistent reports and public accusations’ of arms being flown to South Sudanese government forces by Egypt.
The experts said the South Sudanese government could have been prejudiced of up to US$7 million after senior army officials from Juba connived with an individual associated with a Cairo-based company to make a fake order of Panthera armoured vehicles.
The ‘individual’ told the panel that in 2015, he facilitated a series meetings between the Egyptian company and representatives of the South Sudanese military command.
It concluded that the purported acquisition could have a scam to embezzle money because the weapons were not delivered.