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UN panel of experts recommend an arms embargo on S. Sudan

August 26, 2015 (JUBA) - The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) should impose a ban on the supply or transfer to South Sudan from or through territories or by nationals of all UN member states, a team of experts from the wold body said in a new report.

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Arms and light weapons have been used by both warring parties in South Sudan to commit abuses (Photo courtesy of SSANSA)

The ban will prevent UN member states from using vessels or aircraft to transport weapons, ammunitions and other related materials to the young nation.

According to the UN panel of experts, a major Chinese state-owned arms supplier sold more than $20 million of weapons to South Sudan’s government last year, several months into the country’s deadly internal conflict.

The 55-page report, says China’s Norinco, sold South Sudan’s government 100 anti-tank guided missile launchers, 1,200 missiles, about 2,400 grenade launchers, nearly 10,000 automatic rifles and 24 million rounds of various types of ammunition.

The report also says South Sudan’s military has somehow obtained four attack helicopters since the start of the conflict. It had none before then.

South Sudan has been at war since December 2013, when a split within the security forces escalated into a violent rebellion led by Riek Machar. Kiir’s ethnic Dinka people are pitted against Machar’s Nuer, and the ethnic nature of the violence has alarmed the international community.

The UN Security Council was reportedly considering a US drafted resolution that would impose an arms embargo on South Sudan had it’s government not signed a peace deal on Wednesday.

The panel of experts report also echoes previous UN reports of young girls being raped and burned alive in their homes.

It says both sides in the conflict between government forces and rebels have targeted civilians, saying that since April, "the intensity and brutality of the violence aimed at civilians are hitherto unseen, in what has already been, without a doubt, an exceedingly violent conflict."

Tens of thousands of people have been killed. More than 1.6 million people have been displaced. And oil-rich South Sudan’s public debt has climbed from zero at its independence in 2011 to $4.2 billion as of June, 55-page report highlights.

The panel of experts report says it has started to investigate "the financing channels used by the government and the opposition to prosecute the war and into those individuals and entities who gain financially from the continuation of the conflict."

In July this year, the Security Council imposed sanctions on six South Sudanese generals for fueling the conflict in the world’s youngest nation.

ISRAEL SUPPLYING ARMS TO SOUTH SUDAN

Meanwhile, the South Sudanese army is using Israeli weapons to fight its civil war, the UN said.

According to the UN report, evidence showed the South Sudanese military using the Ace, an advanced version of an assault rifle reportedly produced by Israel Weapon Industries.

The civil war in South Sudan has gone on for 18 months amid allegations of human rights violations, including the use of child soldiers. According to the report, all branches of South Sudan’s security forces are using the Ace, in its battle against local rebels.

A previous UN report had accused the two warring sides in the South Sudanese conflict of committing human rights violations, mainly in the oil-rich Unity state of the country.

Data on Israeli arms sales to Africa reportedly increased dramatically in the years after South Sudan’s independence. In 2009, The Times of Israel reported, Israel sold just $71 million worth of weapons to the continent. In 2013, that number is said to have more than tripled to $223 million, and it reached $318 million last year.

(ST).