A U.N. panel of experts said that a major Chinese state-owned arms supplier sold more than $20 million of weapons to South Sudan’s government last year, several months into the country’s deadly internal conflict.
The experts’ first-ever report, made public Tuesday, says China North Industries Corp., or Norinco, sold South Sudan’s government 100 anti-tank guided missile launchers, 1,200 missiles, about 2,400 grenade launchers, nearly 10,000 automatic rifles and 24 million rounds of various types of ammunition.
The report also says South Sudan’s military has somehow obtained four attack helicopters since the start of the conflict. It had none before then.
South Sudan has been at war since December 2013, when a split within the security forces escalated into a violent rebellion led by Riek Machar. Kiir’s ethnic Dinka people are pitted against Machar’s Nuer, and the ethnic nature of the violence has alarmed the international community.
The U.N. Security Council is now considering a U.S.-drafted resolution that would impose an arms embargo on South Sudan if its government doesn’t sign a peace deal within days.