Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Somalia: arms shippments contributing to instability -- report

The UN Security Council called for stricter implementation of the arms embargo on Somalia after reviewing a report by the Panel of Experts on Somalia. The following are some of the paragraphs from the report that caught my attention ...
33. ... Despite numerous rumours the Panel found no major violations of the arms embargo in the past six months, at least not in the form of typical shipments carried in large vessels or heavy cargo aircraft. Nevertheless, the investigation reveals a disturbing picture of a continuous influx of small quantities of weapons and ammunition that feed the local open arms markets and faction leaders' warehouses in Somalia, despite the ongoing reconciliation process and the ceasefire declaration.

35. On the margins of the international community, the Somali people have been left at the mercy of "governments" who pay their bills in counterfeit currency [a lot of it printed abroad]; faction leaders who demand tribute for the use of public assets like ports, airports and even sections of road; commanders who reward their troops with ammunition or khat; people traffickers who smuggle economic migrants on rickety boats to Yemen or on aircraft to Europe; and foreign interests that bestow arms, cash or political legitimacy upon their proxies of the moment.

36. The arms trade is a critical ingredient in this volatile mix, fostering insecurity and fuelling the Somali conflict. It is also a transnational problem with consequences for the security and stability of the region as a whole. The Panel has found evidence linking illicit arms flows into and through Somalia with the proliferation of small arms and light weapons throughout the region, with piracy in international waters, and with the activities of armed groups and extremists beyond Somalia's borders. (full text)