A request for the easing of the arms sanctions imposed on the Central African Republic (CAR) by the UN Security Council for the country to receive donated weapons from China has been denied.
The CAR Minister of Defence Marie Noelle Koyara requested an easing of the weapons embargo placed on the country, stating that the Central African Republic is confronted by “escalating violence” of various armed groups threatening the stability of the country.
Arms being donated by China includes 12 armoured vehicles and four assault vehicles, 50 pistols, six sniper rifles, ten submachine guns with silencers and some 30 machine guns of various calibres.
Furthermore, other weapons from China’s Poly Technologies includes 300 rockets, 500 anti-tank grenades, anti-aircraft weapons and some 725,000 rounds of ammunition of various types, Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) and 15,000 tear gas grenades.
The UN Security Council denied the delivery of these Chinese-made armoured vehicles, machine guns, tear gas grenades and other weaponry to the Central African Republic military.
Three permanent members of the UNSC who voted to put a hold on the request includes France, Britain and the US.
Reasons given for the Denial
France disclosed that it had “concerns” about the anti-aircraft weapons and ammunition included in the exemption.
The French mission to the UNSC asked for ‘additional justifications concerning this lethal equipment in order to be able to take a decision.’
The United States denied the exemption – pointing that CAR has no threat of air attack and question the need for anti-aircraft weapons, grenade launchers as well as anti-personnel grenades and rockets.
The United States Mission to the UN also noted that to operate grenade launchers, special training is required which were not provided.
While Britain revealed that since the shipments would pass through Cameroon unescorted it would be prone to attacks by Islamist terrorists linked to Al-Qaeda or other separatist movement in the region.
The arms embargo was imposed on the CAR in 2013 when the country descended into chaos. Although, in 2017 the council did allow Russia to supply weapons to the country.
During the request briefing, the CAR Minister of defence argued that the tear gas would help gendarmerie and police handle crowd control citing that the units do not have credible “equipment to maintain order.”
She also disclosed that most of the armoured vehicles and other weaponry would be used by special forces trained by Rwanda and certified by the EU training mission. Also, units of CAR’s gendarmerie and police were previously trained by the UN police.
The CAR request is backed by the European Union military training mission and by the UN peacekeeping operation MINUSCA following repeated attacks by terrorists.