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Bakaraaha Arms Market, The Opposition And The Militant Fundamentalists
Letter dated 5 April 2006 from the members of the Monitoring Group on Somalia addressed to the Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992)
A. Bakaraaha Arms Market, the opposition and the militant fundamentalists
10. As reported by the Monitoring Group in the past in great detail, large quantities of arms are provided through the Bakaraaha Arms Market (BAM) in Mogadishu, where they are purchased chiefly by the opposition alliance and militant fundamentalists. The arms experts of the Monitoring Group have gathered details concerning some large deliveries of arms to BAM and subsequent purchases (see annex I). 1 Consistent with information previously reported by the Monitoring Group, it has also determined that a portion of the arms sold at BAM derive from arms-trading networks operating from the region.
11. BAM played a particularly notable and key role as one of the sources of arms supply to the Mogadishu-based opposition alliance during repeated bouts of fighting between it and the militant fundamentalists in January, February and March 2006; they fought each other in a series of bloody engagements in Mogadishu and Afgooye, north-west of Mogadishu. As a result of the fighting, the arms supermarket was virtually emptied of arms and ammunition, but not before prices skyrocketed: single rounds for a PKM machine gun sold for $5 each. As has been the case for so many years, the business of war was good for the arms traders at BAM.
B. State support for the key players
12. According to information obtained by the Monitoring Group, a widening circle of States are providing arms and military-related support to Somalia in violation of the arms embargo. The Monitoring Group has obtained information that suggests that contributions to the three principal antagonists — TFG, the Mogadishu-based opposition alliance and the militant fundamentalists — are either clandestinely transported directly from the State concerned to the intended recipient or transported by way of intermediary maritime or airline companies to the intended recipient in an effort to disguise their true source. The contributions include arms and ammunition and military equipment such as trucks, uniforms, military rations and medical supplies. Military training, advice and direction are also being provided by States.
The details are as follows.
14. In its reply to the Monitoring Group dated 21 March 2006, the Government of Djibouti confirmed the delivery of uniforms to TFG. However, the Government of Djibouti stated that the uniforms were intended for the police (see annex II).
1 Due to document-processing deadlines, the transactions indicated in annex I are current only up to 3 April 2006. However, the Monitoring Group will continue to update information concerning BAM transactions and present additional information, if available, to the Committee.
The Monitoring Group has below reproduced the relevant paragraphs from that report, followed by the new information.
“36. The Monitoring Group has been informed that another State in the region Eritrea provided support to the opposition and ONLF in the form of arms. That State provided arms to opposition allies including Sheik Yusuf Indohaadde (Governor of Lower Shabelle), Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys (an Al Itihad leader) and others for the purpose of countering support provided to TFG by Ethiopia.
“37. Credible sources alleged that from approximately the beginning of February to the end of the second week of May 2005, that State supplied arms on approximately eight different occasions to Hassan Dahir Aweys and elements of ONLF that at the time were located in the Dhusamareeb area of the Galgaduud region. The arms were transported on aircraft that flew from the State in question to an airfield located in the Dhusamareeb area.
“38. Hassan Dahir Aweys had traveled to that central Somalia location to establish sharia courts and to provide military training to his militia (Al Itihad) or set up military training programmes. While there he also met with representatives of OLF and ONLF. Some were militia leaders who arrived in Dhusamareeb by aircraft from the State in question in April 2005. Also, during the last week of April and the end of the second week of May 2005, approximately three flights transporting 270 trained and equipped ONLF militia arrived in Dhusamareeb from that State. Most of the shipments of arms provided during the first part of the period mentioned above were given to Hassan Dahir Aweys, with the smaller portion going to ONLF.
“39. The Monitoring Group also received credible information that the same State provided another member of the opposition, Sheik Yusuf Indohaadde, with arms by transporting them to two locations in Middle Shabelle — by aircraft to Baledogle Airport, near Mogadishu, and by ship to the port of Marka. Both shipments arrived between 25 March and 10 April 2005. Included among the types of arms in the shipments were anti-aircraft guns and mines.
“40. The Monitoring Group noted above that Sheik Indohaadde and other opposition leaders from Mogadishu had provided arms to Habsade, opposition leader in charge of Baidoa, for potential use against TFG forces in the fight for control of that city on 30 May 2005. Subsequent to the battle, the Monitoring Group obtained two metal ammunition containers and photographs of other ammunition containers that were alleged by Monitoring Group sources to have been provided by the State in question.
“41. The Monitoring Group has further learned that an opposition leader and TFG dissident from Mogadishu traveled to that State during the middle of the mandate period to make arrangements with authorities there to obtain arms shipments. The State allegedly promised to give arms only to the opposition and in quantities that equaled what TFG President Yusuf received from other countries.”
16. Sheik Yusuf Indohaadde arrived in Asmara on or about 14 November 2005 from Saudi Arabia. Indohaadde went to Eritrea to obtain assurances that arms would be supplied by the Eritrean authorities to the Al Itihad leadership in Mogadishu. Indohaadde returned to Somalia, arriving in Mogadishu on or about 21 November 2005.
17. Also, on or about 14 November 2005, officials from the Eritrean Foreign Office who were posing as businessmen arrived in Mogadishu. The team met with Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys. The same delegation also met with the spokesman of the members of the transitional federal institutions in Mogadishu, Colonel Omar Hashi Adan. Colonel Hashi briefed them on the situation in Somalia and thereafter appealed for intensive Eritrean support to match the continuous assistance given to the Jowhar group by the Ethiopians. The Eritrean officials told Colonel Hashi to make his request to the Eritrean representative in Mogadishu. The delegation also expressed a keen interest in supporting the militant fundamentalists for the purpose of using them as a platform to mobilize and support an anti-Ethiopia agenda, also directed at the Ethiopian opposition elements (insurgent groups).
18. The Eritrean envoy in Mogadishu is Elias Haite Talaze. As his ability to move freely about Mogadishu is limited, he operates through an informal local network of people, including a number of local assistants. The envoy’s activities are dominated by dealings with dissident Ethiopian ethnic groups who are concentrated in Banaadir and the Lower Shabelle regions. Accordingly, he has been instrumental in developing good cooperation between the militants and the dissident ethnic groups.
19. During the current mandate period, the Government of Eritrea provided at least four separate consignments of arms, ammunition and military equipment to the militant fundamentalists in Somalia, as follows:
(a) Around 3 March 2006, an aircraft with registration number E-B69 transported the following arms, ammunition and military equipment directly from Asmara to Baledogle airport (Lower Shabelle region), Somalia:
(i) 200 boxes of Zu-23 ammunition (anti-aircraft);
(ii) 200 boxes of B-10 ammunition (anti-tank);
(iii) 200 boxes of DShK ammunition (anti-aircraft);
(iv) 200 boxes of Browning M2 .50 ammunition (heavy machine gun);
(v) Ammunition for ZP-39 (anti-aircraft);
(vi) 50 rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers and boxes of ammunition (anti-tank);
(vii) 50 light anti-armor weapons;
(viii) 50 M-79 grenade launchers;
(ix) Communications equipment to be mounted on technicals.
The consignment was delivered by Elias Haite Talaze to the Sheikh Abdisalan Ali Ibrahim, a military commander of the militant fundamentalists;
(b) Around 5 March 2006, an aircraft arrived at Baledogle airport from Eritrea, containing the following arms, ammunition and military equipment for the militant fundamentalists:
(i) 1,000 AK-47 (short version);
(ii) 1,000 pairs of binoculars;
(iii) 1,000 remote-control bombs;
(iv) 1,000 anti-personnel mines;
(v) Ammunition for 120mm mortar;
(c) Around 7 March 2006, and again around 14 March 2006, a dhow arrived from Eritrea at the port of El Ma’an, north of Mogadishu. The vessels contained ammunition for the militant fundamentalists.
20. The Monitoring Group sent a letter to the Government of Eritrea on 27 March 2006 requesting its response concerning the arms shipments reported to have taken place around 3 and 5 March 2006. In reply to the Monitoring Group’s letter, the Government of Eritrea denied responsibility for the shipments of arms and characterized the Monitoring Group’s information as “outrageous” (see annex III).
21. Information concerning the arms shipments reported to have taken place around 7 and 14 March 2006 was not sent to the Government of Eritrea for a response, as the Monitoring Group received such information only after dispatch of its letter.
(a) On 6 January and 12 January 2006, a total of 10 trucks loaded with arms and ammunition and covered completely to avoid identification arrived in Jowhar from Ethiopia. The major portion of the cargo was handed over to Mohamed Dheere, warlord and head of Jowhar administration and offloaded to his storage facilities, with some of the arms having been transferred to the military training facility at Kongo. A smaller portion of the arms was forwarded to Bashir Rage in Mogadishu. The shipments consisted of a variety of small arms, spare parts for small arms and ammunition, as follows:
(i) Small arms: 2,000 AK-47, 100 PKM, 1,500 G3, 100 RPG launchers, 10 DShK, 10 SKU and landmines;
(ii) Spare parts for ZU-23 (tubes), PKM (tubes) and empty magazines and belts;
(iii) Ammunition for ZU-23, ZP-39, DShK, PKM, RPG-2, RPG-7, B-10, D-30 (artillery), SKU, 120mm mortar, anti-tank mines, AK-47 and G3 rifles;
(b) On 28 March 2006, 10 metric tons of arms including mortars, PKM machine guns, AK-47 assault rifles and RPG (anti-tank weapons) arrived in Jowhar from Ethiopia, by road transport, after passing through the town of Qura-Jooma on the Ethiopia/Somalia border. The consignment was offloaded to a storage facility belonging to Mohamed Dheere.
23. The Monitoring Group learned that on 2 April 2006 Mohamed Dheere arrived in Jowhar from Ethiopia on board an Ethiopian military plane. The Monitoring Group also learned that during his visit to Ethiopia he had asked the Ethiopian Government for additional military support for the opposition alliance, also referred to as the Mogadishu-based opposition. On the basis of the request, Ethiopia gave Dheere assurances of its continued support. The Monitoring Group has outlined in its past reports details of Ethiopian military support for Mohamed Dheere.
24. The Monitoring Group sent a letter to the Government of Ethiopia notifying it of the above information and seeking its response. The Monitoring Group had not received a reply by the time of the submission of the present report.
(a) Between approximately 12 and 16 October 2005, the maritime cargo vessel MV Mariam Queen (known locally as the Abu-Maruyama) offloaded more than 18 trucks and a number of large, long, sealed boxes at the port of El Ma’an, Somalia. The boxes were under heavy security when they arrived on shore. Since their arrival, a number of the trucks have been used, in part, for transport of militia members at the TFG military training facility at Kongo, and at least three of the trucks have been mounted with anti-aircraft guns;
(b) On or about 14 December 2005, an Antonov 12, registration number ERADK, landed at the airstrip at Jowhar. Offloaded from the aircraft were a number of boxes. Printed on the outside of the boxes were words in Italian referring to the Italian military. Contents of the boxes included tents that were, in part, destined for the TFG military training facility at Kongo. The Monitoring Group obtained additional information indicating that the aircraft was one of a number of aircraft that landed at Jowhar during the same time period, containing similar cargo.
26. The Monitoring Group sent a letter to the Government of Italy concerning the shipments detailed above and received a reply dated 6 March 2006. With regard to the shipment of October 2005, the Government of Italy denied any involvement, stating, “the Italian armed forces origin, if indeed confirmed, of the vehicles …could only be explained by their having been purchased on the market, from stocks of materials de-acquisitioned by our armed forces, and indirectly shipped to Somalia by a third party”.
27. With regard to the shipment of 14 December 2005, the Government of Italy confirmed the existence of the shipment and that it had financed six flights. However, the shipment of equipment was not addressed to the militias of TFG (see annex IV).
28. During December 2005 the Government of Saudi Arabia provided, among other dual-use equipment, a quantity of military uniforms to TFG in Somalia, specifically to Hussein M. Aideed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior. The items were transported to Mogadishu via a cargo container on a maritime vessel through the United Arab Emirates.
29. The Government of Saudi Arabia replied to a letter from the Monitoring Group detailing that shipment in a letter dated 27 March 2006. It confirmed the shipment, but stated that the assistance in question consisted of medical equipment, medicines and “anti-gas protective clothing” (see annex V).
32. Clandestine third-country involvement in Somalia was active during the reporting period. The Monitoring Group was informed that during January and February 2006, and at other times not specified in the present section, financial support was being provided to help organize and structure a militia force created to counter the threat posed by the growing militant fundamentalist movement in central and southern Somalia. The new force has been referred to as the Alliance for Peace Restoration and Combat against Terror (APRCT).
33. As of February 2006, APRCT reportedly involved the militias of dissident TFG Ministers, such as the Minister for National Security, Mohamed Qanyare Afrah; the Minister of Commerce, Muse Sudi Yalahow; the Minister for Religion and Endowments, Omar Mohamed Mohamud; and the Minister for Disarmament and Militia Rehabilitation, Botan Issa Alin. Also reportedly included in APRCT were businessmen such as Bashir Raghe Shirar and Abdirashid Ilqeyte and militia commanders such as Abdi Nurre Siayd, Abdi Shuri Ali Hersi and Isse Osman Ali.
34. Moreover, approximately between 18 and 22 February 2006 and between 22 and 25 March 2006, APRCT and militant fundamentalists fought each other in a series of fierce engagements in Mogadishu and Afgooye, located north-west of Mogadishu.
35. The Monitoring Group did not specify third-country involvement because at the time of the writing of the present report it had not completed its investigation.