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October 3, 2001

ANC ARMS TRADING IS UNDERMINING AFRICAN UNION
AUF CALLS FOR MORATORIUM ON WEAPONS BUYING

The AUF is calling for a moratorium on weapons buying by the constituent republics of the African Union. The AUF deplores the fact that African republics lack a coordinated strategy on weapons procurement and that the sale and transfer of weapons between states by Libya, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, and Liberia, continues to strain order in the Union. It makes no sense for states to talk about unity and to then sponsor warfare in other states in the Union.

All arms sales and importantion in or from outside the African Union should be coordinated by the Political Committee of the African Union, and by the African Union's Central Organ for Conflict Resolution or directly by the Chairman of the AU Commission. Moreover, all deployement of soldiers is theoretically the prerogative of the Political Committee and its organs including the Joint Military Commission led by Brigadier-General Njuki Mwaniki, and Brigadier-General Augustine Blay, overseeing the Temporary Security Zone and relations between the AU, UNMEE and Ethiopia and Eritrea.

It is particularly distressing that South Africa, and Egypt continue to import weapons for their armies, and that Libya and South Africa continue to resale and transfer those weapons within Africa, and that Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, Senegal, Kenya and other republics continue to allow joint military excersises with EU and US forces that use for their training the theoretical invasions of neihgbouring African republics.

A senior official of the African National Congress has been arrested in South Africa on charges that he profited from a controversial multi-billion dollar arms deal in 1999. Tony Yengeni, the ANC's chief whip in parliament, is being charged with corruption, fraud, perjury and forgery on allegations that he received a luxury car in return for ensuring the deal went ahead.

Correspondents say that, even before the allegations of corruption were made, spending $5bn on new fighter jets, helicopters, submarines and warships was controversial in a country where millions live in poverty. An arrest warrant has also been issued for Michael Woerfel, an official with the European Aeronautical Defence Space Company, who is currently out of the country.

Mr Woerfel was suspended by EADS in July for his alleged part in the deal. The company is partly owned by Mercedes Benz manufacturer, Daimler Chrysler. EADS has admitted that it had "rendered assistance" to some 30 senior officials to obtain luxury vehicles. These included defence force chief General Siphiwe Nyanda. When the deal was being negotiated, Mr Yengeni was chairman of parliament's defence committee.

In July, he took out full-page advertisements in newspapers in which he denied that his purchase of a Mercedes-Benz four wheel drive vehicle was linked to the weapons purchase and declared: "All is a witchhunt."

Mr Yengeni is the first politician to be arrested following a long investigation into the arms deal. The case resumes in January 2002 and he was forbidden from leaving the country without alerting the authorities. Mr Yengeni was not asked to plead and he was released on bail of 10,000 Rand ($1,100) from Cape Town Magistrate's Court.

A spokesman for the elite anti-crime unit, the Scorpions, said that Mr Yengeni had handed himself in following discussions with his lawyers. Court documents allege that he received a 48% discount on his vehicle and media reports say that a total of 33 luxury cars were sold at a reduced price to senior government officials.



Sept, 10 2001

INTERNATIONAL ARMS SALES UNDERMINE AFRICAN UNITY
AUF CONDEMNS INTERNATIONAL ARMS EXHIBITION

Beginning on Tuesday 10, September 2001, Spearhead corporation, in partnership with the British Ministry of Defense, will host the Defence Systems and Equipment International Exhibition, which features lethal military equipment for sale to selected delegations from around the world.

Among the invited are delegates from Nigeria, Angola and Uganda. This invitation to those three republics undermines the authority of the African Union, undermines UN peace efforts in the DRC, and completely disreards the fact that Angola and Uganda are at war and that access to more weapons violates disarmament clauses of the Lusaka Accord.

Moreover, Nigeria is involved in military actions that excerbate conflicts between its various religious communities. Angola and Uganda both have devastating internal wars and buying more weapons will escalate the violence. We would also like to note that all the three republics have poor human rights records and should NOT be allowed access to more weapons.

The AUF is urging the delegates of Nigeria, Angola and Uganda not to participate in the exhibition. They can spend their money on improving the lives of their people instead of buying arms.


    
    
    
    
    

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