Liberia Bound Weapons Seized
Jan 2, 2001
A consignment of weapons bound for Liberia has been seized by the Ugandan authorities, according to reports.
Uganda's Deputy Permanent Secretary told journalists the weapons were seized by Uganda's custom officials. Reports say although the flight had been cleared to depart from Entebbe to Conakry, Guinea, carrying the weapons supposedly for the Guinea Ministry of Defense, the flight plan filed with the Ugandan Air Traffic Control showed their final destination was Monrovia.
Pending the implementation of sanctions against Liberia as recommended by the UN Panel of Experts on Diamonds and Arms in Sierra Leone, the UN Security has called on all members states to respect the current arms embargo on Liberia. The Report, recently released, said:
"The UN Panel of Experts, in a detailed investigation of weapons fueling the war in Sierra Leone, concluded Liberia is the key supplier of weapons to rebels in return for diamonds. Police and military intercepts, civilian accounts, the written reports of RUF commanders to Foday Sankoh and oral testimony provided to the Panel by ex-combatants provide lengthy and detailed descriptions of a constant flow of weapons and supplies entering Sierra Leone from Liberia. Weaponry and supplies include mortars, rifles, RPGs, satellite phones, computers, vehicles, batteries, food and drugs. Most of the supplies are sent by road or helicopter to Foya-Kama, a few miles from the Sierra Leone border near Kailahun, and then they are trucked across the border into RUF territory for onward distribution.
"The RUF has received regular training in Liberia at Gbatala near Gbarnga and elsewhere. Hundreds of ex combatants and many former RUF leaders have confirmed this in oral testimony and in writing. Sufficient corroborative documentary evidence in the form of written reports of RUF commanders to Foday Sankoh is also available. RUF soldiers have been trained alongside Liberia's Anti Terrorist Unit (ATU), and RUF combatants are frequently used by President Taylor for his own personal security details. Liberian officers and men are also actively assisting the RUF in Sierra Leone, serving as combatants, trainers and liaison officers."
It added that: "The panel received information on the presence of Ukrainian, Burkinabe, Nigerian, Lybian and South African nationals in Liberia for training purposes. The training was given to non-Liberian nationals for deployment in RUF-territory in Sierra Leone, and for action in recent clashes on the Guinea border. Early in 1999, a significant improvement of tactics and use of weapons by the RUF rebels was noted in Sierra Leone. It was more than a coincidence that this happened immediately after foreigners started training these elements in Liberia."