UN accuses multiple countries of quietly sending arms to DR Congo

United Nations (United States) (AFP) – DR Congo’s military receives weapons and training from multiple countries without notifying the United Nations as required by way of a 2004 resolution, according to a recent report to the Security Council.

Some of the weapons have fallen in to the hands of armed groups operating in the east of the nation, warns the confidential report by UN experts that has been obtained by AFP on Thursday.

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s east is one of Africa’s flashpoints, gripped by militia violence which has claimed a lot more than 1,000 lives in a matter of months and caused more than half a million people to flee their domiciles.

The government in Kinshasa has in the past accused neighboring countries of seeking to destabilize it. These governments have in turn said that DR Congo, a massive country the size of western continental Europe, is just a haven for groups that oppose them.

The UN experts are monitoring sanctions from the country that expire by the end of June.

The experts point to instructors and equipment from Albania, Romania, Turkey, South Africa, Israel, China, Iran, the United Kingdom, North Korea, Sudan and the United States, amongst others.

DR Congo and its own military never have been subject to an arms embargo since 2008, though one still applies to armed groups.

However, working out of the military or delivery of arms to them remains subject to notification.

UN sanctions may also include travel bans and asset freezes.

The report noted that several countries “delivered significant quantities of arms, ammunition, equipment and military vehicles” to the military.

That included civilian helicopters transferred for military use, the report says.

“Over the last decade, a large part of the air logistics of FARDC (the military) relied on a fleet of foreign civilian-registered cargo carriers operating in contravention of international and national civil aviation norms and regulations,” it states.

“Some of the material delivered to FARDC was later diverted to armed groups in eastern” DR Congo, the report continues.

Chinese authorities have said they are investigating the claims, while Iran denied it had ever transferred any material to the DR Congo, igniting fears the gear had been sent by a 3rd party.

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