BAE Systems not supporting Guinea Mambas

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BAE Systems South Africa says it has not supported a fleet of Mamba vehicles it sold to the Republic of Guinea in 2003 since 2005.

The 10 mine resistant armour protected vehicles were sold by the then-Alvis OMC. BAE Systems says a further 10 were requested in 2004, “but the export was turned down by the NCACC [National Conventional Arms Control Committee] in 2005, therefore no further vehicles nor spares were ever provided to them.”

Amnesty International last week hit out at France and SA for providing the country’s ruling military junta arms. The human rights watchdog’s report on a massacre of opposition supporters at a sports stadium in Conakry on September 28 last year contains a picture of one of the vehicles in front of the venue ahead of the shooting by police and soldiers that left at least 150 dead and 1500 wounded.

At the time of the sale, approved by the administration of Thabo Mbeki, Guinea was being ruled by strongman Lansana Conté who came to power in a coup d’état in 1984. Conté clung to power until his death in 2008, the wikipedia notes. The current junta sized power under Captain Moussa Dadis Camara on December 23, 2008.

AI noted the vehicles were supplied to the country’s Ministry of Internal Security for “border security” duty. Last September was not the first time the vehicles were abused. AI says photographs and film footage taken in Conakry on January 20 and 22 2007 show the deployment by security forces of Mamba and other vehicles in the city.

Deliveries of arms to Guinea during 2003-06 (apart from the armoured vehicles from South Africa) included shipments from France, Portugal, Senegal, Spain and Turkey.



Pic: A photo from the AI report showing police on what the report says is a Mamba MRAP in Conakry on September 28.