South Africa fuels Rwanda civil war

Issue 

South Africa fuels Rwanda civil war

Copies of two invoices received by the Oslo-based World Campaign Against Military and Nuclear Collaboration with South Africa reveal that arms and ammunition worth around US$6 million were sold to the government of Rwanda by the South African regime in October 1992. A civil war has raged in this tiny east African country for several years.

The invoices are addressed to the Ministry of National Defence in Kigali, Rwanda. The deliveries include rifles, ammunition, hand grenades and mortars.

The transaction was apparently carried out via Nimrod — a South African front company which has often been used by the state-owned arms manufacturer ARMSCOR to breach the international embargo on the import of arms from South Africa. The invoices have been provided to the UN Security Council's Arms Embargo Committee by the director of the World Campaign, Abdul Minty, for "immediate investigation and follow-up action".

"According to this prima facie evidence, the sale of arms and ammunition from South Africa was clearly intended to intensify conflict and war in Rwanda at a time when serious efforts were being made to bring about peace and reconciliation in that country", Minty said.

The South African regime has been making a special effort to promote its arms exports and break the international arms embargo. In February it took part in an international arms exhibition in Abu Dhabi and is known to have secured orders for 155mm howitzers from certain Arab countries before then.

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