March 29, 2015 (JUBA) – A South Sudanese rebel official claimed to have credible evidence showing that China continues to supply the government of South Sudan with lethal weapons through Ethiopia.
South Sudanese president Salva Kiir views an honour guard with Chinese Ppresident Hu Jintao (not seen) during a welcoming ceremony in Beijing on 24 April 2012 (Photo: AP/Alexander F. Yuan)
“We in the SPLM-IO leadership confirm that Chinese flagged vessel Da Dan Xia has brought large quantity of armaments and ammunition to Salva Kiir’s tribal government via Djibouti Port and Ethiopian land,” Peter Mabior Riiny, deputy head of the youth wing for the rebel group told Sudan Tribune this week.
Among those weapons, according to the opposition youth leader, are missile warheads, heavy artillery shells, casings, and million detonators. These weapons, he said, are brought to further destabilize South Sudan.
He claimed that the government of South Sudan had made an arrangement with the Ethiopian government to pay Ethiopia $3.5 million dollars for transferring heavy lethal weapons and ammunition through their territory.
Riiny further claimed that Juba seeks to get charging fees to Ethiopia paid by Chinese oil companies as soon as possible in exchange for crude oil so that they can access the weapons to further execute the war.
He called on the international community to detain the weapons at Port Djibouti and stop China from selling weapons to the South Sudanese government.
“We are calling on [the] United Nations Security Council, Troika, EU, AU and IGAD to detain these weapons and convince China to abstain from supplying lethal weapons to the failed government that massacre its own people in daylight,” he said.
“We want China to bring peace instead [of] weapons,” he added.
Sudan Tribune was unable to independently verify the allegations but several South Sudanese defense officials have argued it was the right of the sovereign nation to procure weapons for defense purposes.
China in June last year shipped a consignment of weaponry worth $38 million to South Sudan through the Kenyan port of Mombasa.
A delegation from the rebel group was however dispatched to Beijing in September last year and was reportedly assured by the Chinese government not to continue to sell more weapons to Juba.
Ethiopia which chairs the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is also the lead in the mediation body that attempts to end the war in South Sudan.
The United Nations seeks to impose sanctions including an arms embargo on the warring parties. An arms embargo previously imposed by the European Union seems to have no impact on the access to weapons by South Sudan.