Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Somalia Hijacked tanks 'for South Sudan' Copy of freight manifest shows contracts were made by Kenya on behalf of South Sudan's Government, G.O.S.S.

Hijacked tanks 'for South Sudan' , Contract numbers include the initials GOSS, thought to be Government Of South Sudan (click image to enlarge). BBC has seen evidence that the Faina ship being held by Somalia pirates is carrying weapons and tanks for South Sudan.

Sudanese People's Democratic Front (SPDF) Area of Operation: South Sudan. A tribal organization known for its violent resistance to the Sudanese government, had signed an accord with the government to cease activities but became active after the government failed to honor pledges for an independence move for the southern part of the country in Dec 2007. On January 16 of 2001 the group announced they would be joining forces with the Sudanese People's Liberation Front (SPLA), largely Southern Sudan-based, non-Arabic and secular, in contrast to the predominantly Muslim and Arab north.

The Sudanese government accused Uganda and Eritrea of supporting the SPLA/M. In 1996 the US sent nearly $20 million worth of military equipment through Ethiopia (US Government is aiding Ethiopia in fight with Somalia Al-Shabaab), Eritrea and Uganda to help the Sudanese opposition in an attempt to overthrow Omar al-Bashir (president of Sudan). US officials denied that the aid was destined for the SPLA, but there were reports elsewhere that elite US forces (A-Teams) were working with the Sudanese rebel army. The Pentagon and CIA considered Sudan to be second only to Iran as a staging ground for international terrorism (al-Qaeda's home base in the 1990's was Sudan, Osama bin-Laden did a lot for Bashir's Government).

27 June 2008...The United States will continue to provide military aid to Kenya despite allegations that the army was involved in human rights abuses during the operation against the Sabaot Land Defence Force in Mount Elgon. Kenya is getting aid from the US government for it's military development and armament in the form of weapons in June of 2008 but some reason Kenya uses $30,000,000.00 in cash (or more) to buy a ship load of Tanks and AK-47's, RPG's and Anti-Aircraft guns from the Ukraine's State-owned arms dealer Ukrspetexport in September 2008, or did they ?

Arms experts wondered why Kenya would purchase Russian-made tanks since its previous suppliers have been the United States (in aid), Britain and China. Kenya's current tanks are British-built. "I'm not aware of Kenya using any [former] Soviet bloc weaponry before, so if they are, that's a major shift," said one arms expert in the region who did not want to be identified. Southern Sudan, by contrast, has been buying Russian-made tanks over the last year, officials said, including nearly 50 T-54 battle tanks. That deal drew attention in February when one shipment was briefly held up at the Kenyan port of Mombasa amid that country's postelection turmoil.

Major General Byor Ajang from the SPLA told the daily Al-Sahafa on Sept. 27th 2008 that the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) did not order any new weapons. “The SPLA did not have Russian weapons shipments that were on its way here through Kenya” Ajang said, (maybe not so much). So who actually purchased the Russian T-72 Tanks from the Ukraine's state owned arms trader Ukrspetexport for Southern Sudan through Kenya, could it possibly be the US Government which currently has about 6 US Navy Warships and a submarine surrounding the Cargo ship Faina ?

Kenya has repeatedly said the weapons on board the MV Faina (purchased from Ukraine's state-owned arms trader, Ukrspetexport) are for its army. A South Sudanese official said South Sudan had nothing to do with the tanks. The MV Faina is currently surrounded by warships monitoring the situation. Last week, the Somali government said the ship's owners were involved in direct negotiations with the pirates, who are demanding a $20m (£11m) ransom.

UkrSpetExport military equipment export-import Ukraine, For several years SSFTIF Ukrinmash, a subsidiary of the state-owned Ukrainian Ukrspetexport company, has been marketing the TShU-1-7 optronic counter-measures system for Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) such as Main Battle Tanks (MBTs).

'Diplomatic embarrassment' A copy of the MV Faina's manifest given to the BBC appears to confirm that the contract was issued on behalf of South Sudan, although the Kenyan defence ministry is named as the consignee. Contract numbers for tanks, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and anti-aircraft guns contain the initials GOSS, which military sources tell the BBC is a reference to the Government Of South Sudan. Kenya could be seen as playing the same role as Cuba did during the Angolan civil war. Tanks 'were for Sudan arms race'

Meanwhile, a Kenyan court has ordered the release of Andrew Mwangura, a spokesman for the Kenyan chapter of the Seafarers Assistance Programme, who had been arrested after he said the tanks were bound for South Sudan. Mr Mwangura was charged with making alarming statements and illegal possession of marijuana.

See Prior Post Thursday, October 02, 2008, Kenyan maritime spokesman, Andrew Mwangura, arrested over alleged connection with Somali pirates of Al-Shabaab.

See Prior Post,Tuesday, September 30, 2008, Andrew Mwangura runs Seafarer's Assistance Program, Hijacked Ships Off Coast of Somalia His Speciality, Pirates are Run by Crime Lords in Dubai !

Last week, Western military experts told the BBC that the tanks on board the MV Faina were going to Sudan and that the shipment indicated an arms race between North and South Sudan had begun. The pirates want a $20m ransom for the MV Faina and its valuable cargo. They are reported to both be building up their forces ahead of a referendum on independence for the South in 2011.

The military experts, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a previous delivery of tanks had taken place last November. Helmoed Heitman, Africa correspondent for Jane's Defence Weekly, also said he had reports that more than 100 T-72 and T-55 Russian tanks (follow the money) have been received by the southern Sudanese in recent months. "If these reports are true, they could change the regional military balance," he told the BBC.

"Kenya could be seen as playing the same role as Cuba did during the Angolan civil war - when they armed the MPLA." The experts said the tanks would most likely be dug in along Sudan's north-south border, with the tanks using their guns to protect military installations.

Bill Warner
Private investigator