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SUDAN: Government violated arms embargo, says expert panel

NAIROBI, 11 October 2007 (IRIN) - Sudanese authorities and rebel groups in the western Darfur region have violated a UN Security Council arms embargo, a panel of experts has said.

According to a report compiled by the panel following investigations from September 2006 to August 2007, the government airlifted arms and equipment into Darfur’s three provincial capitals, El Fasher, Nyala and El Geneina. These included military airplanes and helicopters.

It had also made numerous offensive over-flights in Darfur, and engaged in aerial bombardments. Some of the flights involved white aircraft and in one instance a plane with "UN" markings.

There was no immediate reaction to the report from either the Sudanese government or the various rebel groups in Darfur.

According to the UN experts set up to monitor the ban, several armed groups also received weapons, including assault rifles, rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns. These were brought in through an unnamed country and transported through Eritrea and Chad to Darfur.

Both the Sudanese government and major rebel groups have impeded the Darfur peace process through ongoing hostilities, placing lengthy pre-conditions on participating in peace talks or failing to disarm other groups under their control.

It cited various groups, including the National Redemption Front and the Minni Minnawi faction of the Sudan Liberation Army, as having actively targeted African Union peacekeepers in the region.

The parties to the Darfur conflict, the experts noted, had not enforced any accountability for breaches of the laws and rules of war, and rape was being widely used as an instrument of warfare.

Among other recommendations, the panel called for an expansion of the arms embargo to cover Sudan’s entire territory and a ban on the sale and supply of arms and related materials to non-state armed groups.

Link to report: HYPERLINK



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