UN council slams Somalia arms influx

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution condemning a surging flow of arms and ammunition into lawless Somalia in violation of a 13-year UN arms embargo.

    There has been a spike in the flow of arms into Somalia

    The 15-member council on Friday slammed "the significant increase in the flow of weapons and ammunition supplies to and through Somalia, which constitutes a violation of the arms embargo and a serious threat to the Somali peace process".

    Noting that the situation in war-torn Somalia constituted a threat to international peace and security, the council called on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to restore within 30 days from the date of the adoption of this resolution and for a period of six months the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia.

    Arms embargo

    The monitoring group is charged with reviewing the 1992 arms embargo slapped on Somalia after it descended into anarchy a year earlier with the removal of of leader Mohamed Siad Barre.

    The council asked Annan to
    restore the monitoring group

    The council directed the monitoring group to assist in identifying areas where the capacity of regional states can be strengthened to tighten the embargo.

    It also asked the panel to update a list of those individuals and entities who violate measures taken by member states to enforce the embargo, and their active backers "for possible future measures by the council".

    In a report to the council, the monitoring group had said Ethiopia, Yemen and an unnamed third country in the region were violating the embargo with increasing weapons shipments to the hostile factions within Somalia's transitional government.

    Arms trade

    In addition, it said private Yemeni arms dealers and Ethiopia's rebel Oromo National Liberation Front (ONLF) were fuelling instability by smuggling arms to the profit-driven weapons market in lawless Mogadishu, the capital.

    "The significant increase in the flow of weapons and ammunition supplies to and through Somalia ... constitutes a violation of the arms embargo and a serious threat to the Somali peace process"

    UN Security Council resolution

    The report accused Ethiopia and Yemen of supplying weapons to the government faction allied with transitional President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who has incurred the wrath of a rival camp by refusing to base himself in Mogadishu.

    It did not identify the third country involved in the illicit shipments, but aides to Yusuf have repeatedly claimed that Eritrea is channelling weapons to the president's foes in retaliation for arch-foe Ethiopia's support of him.

    Yusuf is opposed by some members of his government, lawmakers and the tribal leaders who control Mogadishu and insist that the administration should be based in the capital.

    Low-level warfare

    Since Barre's ousting, a plethora of well-armed clan-based factions have been in an almost constant state of low-level warfare, hindering effective monitoring of the UN arms embargo.

    In July, the Security Council rejected Yusuf's pleas to ease the arms ban to allow the deployment of a regional peacekeeping force in the east African nation, warning that such a move would exacerbate fighting there.

    SOURCE: AFP


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