Arms originating from the stockpiles of the Sudan Armed Forces, or SAF, are the primary source of weapons used by Darfuri and southern Sudanese rebel groups, according to the latest Small Arms Survey report.
The report traces weapons to other sources as well, including neighboring governments, the African Union and U.N., and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, but it says the SAF is the main source:
[F]lows from SAF and other state stockpiles in the region—rather than smaller-scale illicit markets—are the primary source of the small arms, light weapons, and ammunition held by both Darfuri and Southern Sudanese armed groups. In particular, these state stockpiles appear to be the source of their more recent acquisitions of heavier and more sophisticated weapons.
This discovery comes as the South Sudanese government continues to point an accusatory finger at its northern counterpart, claiming Khartoum is fueling the inter-tribal attacks that have already claimed 2,500 lives this year in the South.
Though the report does not definitively say that the SAF or Khartoum is behind the distribution of the weapons, it is hard not to connect the dots. The National Congress Party has a history of arming and training proxy militias, as well as economic and political motivation for derailing the self-determination referendum.
The SAS report also provides a reminder that more needs to be done to help United Nations peacekeepers carry out their missions. Under its key findings, SAS notes:
Neither the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) nor the African Union United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) are currently able to monitor and verify the movement of new arms to Darfur and Southern Sudan, as they are mandated to do.