Security Council experts fault gov’t over breach of arms embargo

Security Council experts fault gov’t over breach of arms embargo

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Panel of Experts on South Sudan has faulted the government over breach of the arms embargo.

The UN Security Council on July 13, 2018, imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan’s territory, legally obliging all UN member states to prevent direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms and related materials, including ammunition, military vehicles and spare parts.  

But a recent report released by the UN Experts, says that government had breached the orders following an alleged importation armoured vehicles.

“The Panel considers the import of these vehicles to constitute a violation of the arms embargo imposed on the entire territory of South Sudan by Security Council resolution 2428 (2018), renewed most recently by resolution 2577 (2021),” read the report seen by City Review. 

Photo graphic evidence 

The report was April 28, 2022 but only came to the attention of the local press early this month.

According to the report that rellied heavily on photographic evidence, the government had purchased 150 new armoured vehicles for the South Sudan National Police Service.

The evidence cited photos of 25 armoured vehicles taken at the police headquarters and that were shared immediately after the announced after recieipt of the vehicles. 

“In March 2022 the Government of South Sudan announced on its Facebook page that it had purchased 150 new vehicles for the South Sudan National Police Service. 

“The announcement was accompanied by photographs depicting approximately 25 new armoured personnel carriers at police headquarters in Juba,” said the report.

In February 2022 and December 2021, the report added, similar vehicles were cited at the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces Tiger Battalion, in Warrap and Lakes States, respectively.

 The procurement of the vehicles is believed to have taken place some time in 2021, with the delivery done early this year.

“No exemption was requested of the Committee for the purchase of the armoured military vehicles,” the report said. 

The armoured personnel carriers appear to match the “Tygra” model. 

Another reported incident of the breach of arms embargo had been an alleged training of 50 National Security Service Officers, who reportedly graduated from training that was administered by the Ethiopian National Intelligence and Security Service of Ethiopia.

However, the attempts to reach the Minister for Information, Michael Makuei Lueth, Press Secretary in the Office of the President Ateny Wek Ateny; and the Minister for Presidential Affairs Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin were futile by press time.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Spokesperson of the National Police Service, Col James Dak Karlo who accepted to speak to The City Review requested more time to get permission from the highest authority before commenting on the matter.

Battle against embargo

On Sunday, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tsishekedi, met with President Salva Kiir in Juba and called for the African Union member states to push hard for the lifting of the arms embargo on South Sudan.

 “I (add) my voice to the South Sudanese to call for the arms embargo to be lifted because, in any case, we apply to build these regional posts and it will not be considerate for South Sudan to actively participate, and that is why we would like to call for this arms embargo to be lifted,” Tsishekedi stated.

President Salva Kiir on several occasions has called for the lifting of the arms embargo on South Sudan, stressing that it is a stumbling block to the graduation of the unified forces—one of the critical spots in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

“It (embargo) has now become an obstacle to the same agreement’s implementation because we cannot graduate the unified forces with sticks. I know South Sudan cannot do this alone and this is why I am calling upon the regional bodies to unite again,” Kiir noted.

The arms embargo on South Sudan was renewed on May 28, 2021, when the UNSC adopted a resolution 2577, for the extension of the date of the arms embargo on South Sudan to May 28, 2022.

It bars the government of South Sudan from procuring arms, armored vehicles, and recruiting or even training soldiers so that the peace agreement would remain intact.

The embargo also involves the stoppage of technical support, training, and financial or other assistance in relation to military activities.