Arms continue to flow into Darfur, Security Council expert panel finds

Arms continue to flow into Darfur, Security Council expert panel finds

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The Sudanese Government and rebel groups in Darfur continue to violate the Security Council arms embargo, sending heavy weapons, small arms, ammunition and other military equipment into the war-torn region over the past year, a panel of experts set up to monitor the ban says in a new report.

The Sudanese Government and rebel groups in Darfur continue to violate the Security Council arms embargo, sending heavy weapons, small arms, ammunition and other military equipment into the war-torn region over the past year, a panel of experts set up to monitor the ban says in a new report.

The panel finds that the Government has shipped arms and equipment – including military airplanes and helicopters – by air into the airports of Darfur’s three provincial capitals, El Fasher, Nyala and El Geneina.

This occurred even though the Government did not submit any requests for approval or exemption to the Security Council committee set up in 2005 as part of the arms embargo, the report states, covering the period from the end of September last year to the end of August this year.

Government warplanes also made numerous offensive overflights in Darfur, and engaged in aerial bombardments, although the panel notes that the frequency of aerial attacks has declined since April.

Several non-State armed groups have also received weapons, including assault rifles, rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns, that were bought in an unnamed country and then transported through Eritrea and later Chad to reach the rebels in Darfur, which lies on Sudan’s western flank.

The panel says it is still awaiting responses from several Member States concerning that shipment, as well as other shipments to non-State armed groups.

It reiterates its earlier recommendation to expand the arms embargo to cover Sudan’s entire territory and issues a fresh recommendation calling for a ban on the sale and supply of arms and related materiel to non-State armed groups located in or operating from neighbouring Chad.

Turning to the targeted financial and travel-related sanctions, the panel states that the Sudanese and Chadian Governments have failed to fully implement the resolutions relating to the ban, such as by monitoring the financial accounts of individuals named by the Council.

The panel also finds that both the Sudanese Government and Darfur’s major rebel groups have impeded the peace process, whether by conducting ongoing hostilities, placing lengthy pre-conditions on participating in peace talks or by failing to disarm other groups under their control.

Several rebel groups, including the National Redemption Front (NRF) and the Minni Minawi faction of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) have also actively targeted the African Union peacekeeping mission currently operating in Darfur.

For its part, the Government had used white aircraft in many of its offensive overflights in Darfur, including in at least one instance a plane with “UN” markings.

All sides, including local Arab tribal militia, are not enforcing any accountability for breaches of the laws and rules of war, while the panel states that rape is being widely used as an instrument of warfare.