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Weapons shipped to the Somali government have been diverted

By on February 15, 2014

Weapons shipped to the Somali government have been diverted to al Qaeda-linked militants and clan leaders, according to a team of UN monitors. Senior Somali officials have been implicated in the illicit arms transfers.

A team of UN monitors on Friday called for the reinstatement of a full arms embargo against Somalia, after revealing that weapons shipments to the government in Mogadishu regularly fall into the hands of Islamist militants and clans.
The Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group found “high level and systematic abuses in weapons management and distribution” by Somalia authorities, according to a confidential report seen by the news agencies.
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The UN monitors said that they obtained photographs showing weapons, officially destined for the Somalia government, on sale in the open market in Mogadishu.
Government complicity?
Senior Somali government officials have been implicated in the transfer of weapons to the Abgaal and Habar Gedir clans, according to the UN investigators. Somalia’s current president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, is a member of the Abgaal clan.
In one case, weapons ostensibly destined for the Somali government were diverted to an al-Shabab commander. Al-Shabab is an al Qaeda-linked Islamist militant group at war with Somalia’s federal government.

A long-standing UN arms embargo against Somalia was loosened in February, 2013 in order to allow some weapons shipments to bolster the country’s weak central government. Somalia’s main allies, Ethiopia and Djibouti, have made large arms transfers to Somalia to equip the government’s security forces.

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