Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

U.N. failed to stop 21 tons of undeclared Chinese arms and ammo, “smuggled” into Ivory Coast.

Africa Security News.- PAA, Port of Abidjan.

Africa Security News.- PAA, Port of Abidjan.

United Nations experts have called for the U.N. to stop allowing arms for its Mali peacekeepers to be shipped through  Ivory Coast after they said a load of military hardware sent by China violated the african country’s arms embargo.

The experts said China understated its actual size by 21 tonnes.

Beijing denied U.N. accusations and said all the equipment was correctly received by its contingent in Mali.

Chinese near 400 troops form part of a 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission being deployed to help pacify Mali, after a French-led military intervention last year drove off a coalition of Tuaregs and al Qaeda Jihadist terrorists who had seized the country’s desert north.

Ivory Coast’s  port of Abidjan has been a transit point for cargo shipped to Mali’s mission, known as MINUSMA.

The Chinese government sent a packing list to MINUSMA specifying 3,020 kg of military equipment in the shipment. The U.N. mission in Ivory Coast (UNOCI) requested approval from Ivorian authorities to transit the cargo through the country, despite the lack of prior approval by the sanctions committee.

The panel of U.N. experts said the bill of lading  stated that three of the containers carried 8,484 kg of military goods, 5,202 kg of rifles and bullets and 10,721 kg of ammunition. The U.N. statement and quantities was confirmed by a cargo declaration as well as a request for permission to unload the containers from the local shipping agent addressed to the director general of Abidjan port.

The U.N. Group is concerned about the missing difference of 21,387 kg of arms, ammunitions and military equipment that are not recognised as having been delivered to MINUSMA.

The U.N. is also to be blamed by this irregularity. UNOCI’s unit charged with monitoring the embargo, IEMU, was not present when the weapons were unloaded at the port.

China’s foreign ministry said the three containers cited by the experts contained only three tonnes of arms and ammunition while the remaining 21 tonnes were articles for daily use.

The U.N. experts said they were not able to determine what happened to the shipment after it arrived in Abidjan. They travelled to the border crossing of Pogo on December 17, 2013 and were told that a shipment of MINUSMA containers had crossed into Mali but no arms or ammunition were specifically registered.

Ivory Coast Defence Minister Paul Koffi Koffi told Reuters the whole cargo shipment destined for the Chinese peacekeepers was transported to Mali under an Ivorian military escort.

In a letter to Koffi Koffi, MINUSMA’s shipping agent Etablissement Victoire Transit (EVT) had requested the Ivorian military secure the consignment and escort it to the border. EVT also requested the shipment not be subject to the established customs transit control process.

Another scandal in Abidjan Port during 2013.-

This situation is not new for the Port in Abidjan . In 2013 hundreds  of containers disappeared from the autonomous Port of Abidjan, without trace, in just three months (between July and October 2013).