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UN group reports jump in violations of arms embargo against Somalia

7 October 2005 Reporting a sharp rise in violations of the arms embargo against Somalia, a UN monitoring group is recommending that the Security Council tighten the noose to cut funding available to former warlords in the war-ravaged country.

In a report released today, the four-member expert group points to a "severely elevated threat of widespread violence in central and southern Somalia" and calls for an "integrated embargo" to cover the export of charcoal and fish originating in the Horn of Africa country and a ban on foreign vessels fishing in Somali waters.

"The proposal is not intended to seriously affect or impose restrictions on individuals in Somali civil society who are engaged in traditional, domestic and day-to-day subsistence activities for the purpose of local consumption," the report says.

The increase in the violations is a manifestation of the highly aggravated political tensions between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and its opponents, fuelled by external support for different factions, the report says.

Arms are flowing from Yemen to the Somali Government, according to the report. The arms cargo of a dhow was seized by the Yemeni Government, but the Group notes that round-trip flights to Somalia by Yemeni military aircraft took place in July.

The Group says the Government of Ethiopia had sent arms shipments directly to TFG militia forces in Western Somalia – a charge which the authorities in Addis Ababa have denied.

"Another State in the region," which the Group declines to identify because the investigation is incomplete, has provided arms to the Somali opposition forces, countering Ethiopia's assistance to the Government, and has also sent weapons to the rebel Oromo National Liberation Front (ONLF) of Ethiopia.

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