Despite long-standing restrictions, new weapons have continued to reach South Sudan’s battlefields, often via neighbouring countries, a detailed report by an arms monitoring group said Thursday.
A four-year investigation, by London-based Conflict Armament Research (CAR), into the supply of weapons that have helped keep South Sudan’s civil war alive since December 2013, has revealed the important role played by neighbouring countries, particularly Uganda, in circumventing arms embargoes.
While the UN Security Council did not impose an arms embargo on South Sudan until July 2018, more than four years into a war that has killed an estimated 380,000 people, the EU has banned direct sales of weapons by member states to Sudan since 1994, amending the embargo to include newly-independent South Sudan in 2011.
Nevertheless, the government army — known as the SPLA, or Sudan People’s Liberation Army — has been kept well supplied with weaponry, often funnelled through Uganda and sometimes originating from Europe or the US.
The rebel SPLA-IO (SPLA In Opposition) has had less success in sourcing weapons, the researchers found, relying heavily on scavenging arms.