UN Says Liberia Illegally Importing Arms

Article excerpt

The United Nations released a report October 25 revealing that Liberia illegally imported more than 200 tons of weapons from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) between June and August of this year. Liberia is prohibited from receiving arms under a March 2001 UN arms embargo imposed for its support of rebel forces fighting at the time in Sierra Leone.

A panel of four UN experts reported that six weapons shipments, consisting mostly of automatic rifles, pistols, hand grenades, mines, missile launchers, and ammunition, were flown into Liberia even though export documents listed Nigeria as the destination. The documents were discovered to be false.

Temex, the Yugoslav company making the sale, claimed it considered the deals legal because the company believed that it had legitimate contracts with Nigeria's Ministry of Defense. But Nigeria is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has had a moratorium on small arms imports since 1998. …