UN Says Arms for Somalia Diverted to Militias

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - UN monitors say they have found evidence that arms shipments to the Somali government have been diverted to clan militias and in one case were destined for an al-Shabab rebel commander.

UN Says Arms for Somalia Diverted to Militias

A confidential report by the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group found "high level and systematic abuses in weapons management and distribution" by Somali authorities.

In February 2013, the UN Security Council voted to partially lift an arms embargo against Somalia, seeking to help the beleaguered government in its battle against al-Shabab fighters.

But the council imposed restrictions requiring notification of shipments, banned certain heavy weapons and mandated the Monitoring Group to watch how matters proceeded.

On February 6, the coordinator of the UN monitors wrote to the chairman of the Security Council committee overseeing the sanctions to present a report that raised serious concerns.

The report, which is not binding on UN members, recommended a reversal of the loosening of the embargo, to try and stop arms shipped to the Somali government falling into the wrong hands.

"However, an alternative recommendation to the committee would be to introduce, at the minimum, enhanced notification and reporting requirements, if not a partial tightening," it said, AFP reported.

Senior Somali officials have also, the report alleges, been implicated in the transfer of weapons meant for the national army to militias tied to the Abgaal and Habar Gedir clans.

Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is a member of the Abgaal clan, and the report says the team found evidence tying a network of officials to arms shipments to the group's forces.

The group has "obtained documentary evidence corroborating information that a key advisory to the president, from his Abgaal sub-clan, has been involved in planning weapons deliveries to al-Shabab leader Sheikh Yusuf Isse 'Kabukatukade'."

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