Sunday, November 28, 2010

North Korea and China
N Korea supplying nuclear technology to Iran & Myanmar: UN report
The 75-page report, "reinforces US claims that North Korea has emerged as a key supplier of banned weapons materials to Washington's greatest rivals," 'The Washington Post' reported.
Now Iran has Nuclear Ballistic Missile -- KOMID has sold missile technology to Iran The findings of the report indicate, "North Korean involvement in nuclear ballistic missile related activities in certain other countries, including Iran, Syria and Myanmar".

In April 2009 the United Nations named the Korea Mining and Development Trading Corporation (aka KOMID) as North Korea's primary arms dealer and main exporter of equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons. The UN lists KOMID as based in Central District Pyongyang.[53] However it also has offices in Beijing and sales offices worldwide which facilitate weapons sales and seek new customers for North Korean weapons.[54]

KOMID has sold missile technology to Iran[55] and has done deals for missile related technology with the Taiwanese.[56] KOMID representatives were also involved in a North Korean deal to mass produce Kornet anti-tank guided missiles for Syria[57] and KOMID has also been responsible for the sale of equipment, including missile technologies, gunboats, and multiple rocket artilleries, worth a total of over $100 million, to Africa, South America and the Middle East.[58]

North Korea's military has also used the company Hap Heng to sell weapons overseas. Hap Heng was based in Macau in the 1990s to handle sales of weapons and missile and nuclear technology to nations such as Pakistan and Iran. Pakistan's medium-range ballistic missile, the Ghauri, is considered to be a copy of North Korea's Rodong 1. Even in 1999, intelligence sources said North Korea had sold missile components to Iran.[59] Listed directors of Hap Heng include Kim Song In and Ko Myong Hun.[60] Ko Myong Hun is now a listed diplomat in Beijing[61] and may be involved in the work of KOMID.[62]

A UN sanctions committee report stated that North Korea operates an international smuggling network for nuclear and ballistic missile technology, including to Burma, Syria, and Iran.[63]
Arms flows fuel attacks in Darfur

Extracted from the full report by Amnesty International entitled "Blood at the Crossroads: Making the case for a global Arms Trade Treaty" (AI Index ACT: 30/011/2008) September 2008, available from

In early 2008 a spate of attacks, including on civilians, worsened the already dire human rights and humanitarian situation in certain areas of Darfur. This case shows that even in the face of the UN arms embargo on Darfur and the ongoing serious abuses and human rights violations, crimes against humanity and war crimes being perpetrated by parties to the conflict in that region of Sudan, arms have been continuously deployed into Darfur. Furthermore, arms have been knowingly supplied into the hands of the parties to the conflict through Sudan and Chad, including by Permanent Members of the Security Council. Cargo aircraft have continued to ferry in military items, notably small arms, light weapons and ammunition, used in the bulk of violations and abuses. In addition, the Sudanese armed forces have used jet fighters, military utility planes, military helicopters, artillery and armoured vehicles to facilitate direct attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks. The lack of commitment by China and Russia to strengthen the UN arms embargo is made worse by the weak systems of state laws, regulations and corresponding capacities in the region which are insufficient to prevent the violation of the UN arms embargo.

Since 2004, Amnesty International has repeatedly called for all States to refrain from supplying arms to all parties to the conflict in Darfur until they demonstrate respect for their obligations under international law, particularly under international human rights and humanitarian law. [1] Amnesty International drew attention in November 2004 to the fact that Sudanese government Antonov aircraft, MiG fighter jets and helicopter gunships bombed villages, killed civilians and forced the people to flee their homes in Darfur. However, in 2007 and 2008, Sudanese government forces and militia continued using indiscriminate aerial bombardments and direct armed attacks on civilians, while also perpetrating other serious violations of human rights in Darfur. Amnesty International has also condemned the grave abuses of human rights perpetrated by armed opposition groups in Darfur.

As the following account shows, the Government of Sudan, government allied militia (often referred to as Janjawid), as well as armed opposition groups operating in Darfur have continued to receive plentiful supplies of small arms and conventional military equipment over recent years which are continually used to facilitate and commit serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law in Darfur. The supply process has continued despite international appeals for the suspension of such arms transfers and the imposition on 29 March 2005 of a UN Security Council arms embargo on all parties to the conflict in Darfur.

Continued Armed Clashes Affecting Civilians
Previous inflows of arms on all sides have preceded an escalation of conflict in Darfur initiated by those who received them. The heavy arming of groups allied to the government intensified in Darfur after the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement in May 2006 which contained pledges to disarm the Janjawid militia. This was followed by the mass incorporation of groups, which had formerly been part of the Janjawid, into government paramilitary organizations - the Popular Defence Forces (PDF), the Border Intelligence, and the Border Police or the Nomad Police. Those incorporated were equipped with new small arms, uniforms and 4x4 vehicles by the Sudanese government.

Breakaway factions of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), contributed to a process of fragmentation and by early 2008 there were numerous armed opposition groups operating in Darfur, increasingly divided along ethnic lines. As a result of indiscriminate and direct attacks on civilians, ongoing serious violations of human rights, particularly by government and paramilitary groups, about 280,000 people were displaced during 2007 bringing the number of displaced in Darfur to more than 2,387,000 by the beginning of 2008. The death toll in Darfur was estimated to be over 200,000 since the conflict began in 2003.

In October 2007, the UN Panel of Experts, tasked with investigating breaches of the UN arms embargo and identifying individuals who impede the peace process and commit violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in Darfur, confirmed the involvement of members of the Border Intelligence Guard and the Popular Defence Forces in attacks by “tribal” militia groups in Southern Darfur that resulted in significant civilian casualties and destruction of civilian property.[2] The Panel also identified a number of instances in which rape was used as an instrument of warfare and found substantial evidence of violations of the right to life and violation of the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The Panel concluded that all parties to the conflict had conducted these violations, but the Sudanese Armed Forces, the faction of the Sudan Liberation Army led by Minni Minawi, and “tribal” militia groups had most noticeably carried out the violations.

Amnesty International reported during May and August 2007 on additional supplies of arms to Sudan and more deployments of arms in Darfur.[3] In October 2007, Amnesty International received further reports of arms flows into Darfur. Sudanese soldiers were reportedly seen unloading arms boxes from a large Ilyushin IL76 cargo plane operated by FASO Airways at Nyala airport in late October.[4] In addition, in late December 2007 and early January 2008 several flights of Antonov 12 and Ilyushin 76 cargo planes operated by AZZA Transport were reportedly witnessed flying into El Geneina airport from Khartoum.[5] According to the UN Panel of Experts investigating breaches of the UN arms embargo, AZZA Transport has frequently carried out cargo flights to supply the Sudanese armed forces.[6] Also in January 2008, Amnesty International received a report that small arms were being distributed to militia in El Geneina.[7] Sudanese jet fighters, reportedly Chinese Fantans, were also seen above the West Darfur capital, El Geneina. In early 2008, a spate of attacks, including on civilians, worsened the already-dire human rights and humanitarian situation in some areas of Darfur. Sudanese government armed forces and allied militia carried out attacks in order to drive the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) out of the Sirba/Jebel Moon area of West Darfur.

The apparent air bridge in support of the Sudanese government armed forces and its allied militia broadly coincided with a reported military build up of JEM in West Darfur backed up by the Chadian armed forces. Large supplies of small arms and light weapons reportedly supplied to JEM from Chad for use against the Sudanese government, appear to have helped JEM to capture a wide swathe of land in south-east Darfur from August 2007, attacking closer to the Government of Sudan’s important interests - Adila (an important railhead) and Wad Banda (in Kordofan). In August – September 2007, JEM took control of much of Haskanita and on 29 September 2007, the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) base in Haskanita in North Darfur was attacked, killing 10 AMIS peacekeepers. Allegedly two armed opposition groups, reportedly offshoots of JEM and of SLA/Unity, attacked the AMIS base and looted arms. The Sudanese army then occupied the town and burned it to the ground.

In December 2007 and January 2008, with reports of significant military support from the Chadian armed forces, JEM moved to the Jebel Moon/Sirba area, defeated a Sudan Government convoy and took over the area (see further below). The UN Secretary-General’s report of 14 February spoke of 74 vehicles carrying Chadian forces entering Sudan and linking up with JEM in December 2007.[8] JEM issued numerous communiqués talking of the “liberated areas” and in January JEM moved south and threatened to attack Sudanese forces based in El Geneina. The Sudanese armed forces responded with a big military build up around El Geneina, and, for a short time, handing over policing to Chadian armed opposition groups, indicating distrust of local police.

On 7 January 2008, only eight days after the UN-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) formally took over peacekeeping from the African Mission in Sudan, Sudanese Armed Forces attacked UNAMID peacekeepers travelling in a supply convoy in Darfur. This attack was in blatant violation of IHL. It was followed a week later on 13 and 14 January by a Government of Sudan Antonov military utility aircraft bombing two villages near Geneina which violated the UN ban on offensive military flights in and over Darfur, under Security Council Resolution 1591 of March 2005. Aerial attacks, conducted by the Sudanese government forces, with Antonov aircrafts rarely allow distinguishing between civilian and military objects, resulting in indiscriminate killings and injuries and destruction of civilian property. Sudanese Antonov aircraft usually carry between 12 and 16 bombs weighing 100kg, described as “very basic steel drums full of dynamite” which are apparently rolled out from the rear load ramp and when used for aerial attacks on villages are not precisely targeted. For example, in April 2007 a Sudanese government Antonov bomber and helicopters attacked the village of Umm Rai in North Darfur, hitting a school and killing two people.

Meanwhile, at the end of January 2008, Chadian armed opposition groups launched an attack against N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, briefly taking control of parts of the city on 2 and 3 February. The Chadian government accused the Government of Sudan of having backed the Chadian armed opposition groups by providing logistical support. JEM forces then reportedly moved rapidly westwards to help President Deby of Chad and the Chadian armed opposition groups were pushed south and moved back to Sudan. The Sudanese authorities allegedly rearmed the Chadian opposition groups, so that by March 2008 they were making attacks once more against Chad army columns in the Chad-Sudan border areas.

In February 2008, while JEM forces were present in Chad, the Sudanese Armed Forces and Janjawid militia launched an attack against the JEM-held areas in Darfur. Such attacks occurred on Abu Suruj, Sirba and Sileia on 8 February and on Jebel Moon on 18, 19 and 22 February. The Sudanese armed forces used their traditional tactics: indiscriminate aerial bombing of settlements with Antonov planes and striking with helicopter gunships before launching ground attacks with Janjawid militia as well as the army, looting and raping especially in Sirba, and striking indiscriminately at civilians. Altogether, 115 people were reported killed in the campaign, mostly civilians, including women and children, and it is estimated that 30,000 people were displaced. Up to 12,000 refugees fled into neighbouring eastern Chad, according to the UNHCR. An official report on the attacks by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and UNAMID said that the Sudan Armed Forces had “failed to distinguish between civilian objects and military objectives” and that the scale of destruction “suggests that the damage was a deliberate and integral part of a military strategy”. Humanitarian organizations were not able to access any of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) and others in need of food from mid December 2007 until 3 March 2008, leaving around 160,000 people without access to humanitarian assistance. During February-March 2008, JEM was allegedly receiving new armaments from the Government of Chad and had started launching attacks to retake Jebel Moon.

The UN Arms Embargo on Parties to the Darfur Conflict
Since 29 March 2005, the UN Security Council has prohibited arms transfers to any of the parties to the conflict in Darfur and specified that the Government of Sudan may not transfer military equipment to Darfur without prior approval from the Sanctions Committee of the Security Council. However, the parties to the conflict have continued to receive and deploy arms in Darfur, aided by poorly designed and implemented arms trade control laws and mechanisms in neighbouring and supplier States.

The terms of the arms embargo are set out in two Security Council resolutions. In paragraphs 7 and 8 of Resolution 1556 (2004) of 30 July 2004, the Security Council decided “that all states shall take the necessary measures to prevent the sale or supply, to all non-governmental entities and individuals, including the Janjaweed, operating in the states of North Darfur, South Darfur and West Darfur, by their nationals or from their territories or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related materiel of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and spare parts for the aforementioned, whether or not originating in their territories” as well as the provision “of technical training or assistance” related to these items. With paragraph 7 of Resolution 1591 (2005) of 29 March 2005, the Security Council decided that these provisions of Resolution 1556 shall “also apply to all parties to the N’djamena Ceasefire Agreement and any other belligerents” and therefore to the Government of Sudan.

In addition, offensive military flights in and over the Darfur region are prohibited, according to UN Security Council Resolution 1591. The UN Security Council has explicitly demanded from the Government of Sudan, in accordance with the Sudanese Government’s commitments under the 8 April 2004 N’djamena Ceasefire Agreement and the 9 November 2004 Abuja Security Protocol, that it immediately “cease conducting offensive military flights in and over the Darfur region.”[9] However, this does not apply to non-offensive military flights which, if carried out in order to move military equipment or supplies into Darfur, nevertheless require the prior authorization of the UN Sanctions Committee on Sudan. Within Darfur the re-supply of military equipment is not permitted and only the withdrawal of military equipment is allowed when the Parties have notified the Cease Fire Commission (CFC) of a troop movement, and the CFC subsequently specifies the route along which the troops have to move.

A Committee of the Security Council was set up by Resolution 1591, together with a Panel of Experts. The tasks of the Committee described in paragraph 3 include monitoring the implementation of the embargo and authorizing as appropriate “the movement of military equipment and supplies into the Darfur region” by the Government of Sudan. Crucially, in the light of ongoing arms transfers to the Sudanese government including mainly by China and Russia, two Permanent Members of the Security Council, the Committee clarified its understanding in its report of 28 December 2006 that the embargo allowed Member States to “provide arms and military equipment to the Government of the Sudan outside the Darfur region and that the Government could move military equipment or supplies irrespective of their origin into the Darfur region on the condition that such movement was approved in advance by the Committee upon a request by the Government.”

In practice, the UN Sanctions Committee decided that China, Russia and others could continue sending arms, related material of all types and technical assistance and training to the Sudan government despite its repeated flagrant violations of the UN embargo, provided those deliveries were not destined for Darfur. The Chinese and Russian governments say they have told Sudan’s government that their weapon supplies must not be used in Darfur but Sudan’s government openly says it will send military equipment where it likes.[10] Acknowledging “the risk” in March 2007, the UN Panel of Experts appointed under Resolution 1591 recommended that supplying States should henceforth request the Sudanese government to provide an end-use certificate, which would state the destination of the respective military goods and services, and should notify the Committee in advance.

The UN Security Council Panel of Experts has submitted reports detailing violations of the UN arms embargo by the Government of Sudan and Sudanese armed opposition groups, for example in October 2006[11], and in its March 2007 interim report the Panel noted “the ongoing violations of the arms embargo” and recommended “that the Security Council revisit options for strengthening the arms embargo presented by the Panel in its previous reports, including provisions pertaining to: (a) expansion of the arms embargo to the entire territory of the Sudan (potentially with targeted exemptions); (b) verification of arms and ammunition; (c) end-use certification; and (d) restrictions on dual-use items.”[12] In October 2007, the UN Panel issued yet another report that documented further numerous violations of the arms embargo. However, the Security Council has not acted upon the report’s recommendations, despite the clear evidence of violations and important recommendations to improve the embargo.[13]

Photographs of three Chinese-made Nanchang A-5 "Fantan" jets in Nyala, South Darfur, whose deployment was a clear violation of UN Resolution 1591 by the Sudanese government, were provided by the UN Panel and the Nyala airport's logbooks were cited as evidence of the jets’ arrival from points outside Darfur (El Obeid and Wadi Sayyidna). The UN embargo also prohibits offensive military flights in Darfur and Fantan jets are used as ground attack fighters, not as air supremacy aircraft that could secure Sudan's borders (see more on the Fantan jets further below).

The UN Panel of Experts report also provided photographic evidence of two Russian Mi-24 “Hind” attack helicopters deployed from Khartoum to El Fasher, and documents an additional nine rotations of Mi-24s to Darfur, as well as the deployment of a Mi-8 assault/transport helicopter in Darfur during 2007. Yet successive attempts by the Sanctions Committee in terms of Resolution 1591 to compel the Government of Sudan to seek prior Security Council permission before deploying such military helicopters to Darfur have been ignored by the government, thus making its deployments formal violations of the UN arms embargo.

In addition, the UN Panel also provided evidence of the Sudan government’s use of two white Antonov 26 aircraft to bomb locations and conduct military reconnaissance in Darfur, including one with "UN" painted on its wing, a clear violation of IHL.[14] The use of white paint on such military equipment by the Sudanese Government, which it has done since March 2005, is particularly egregious since aircraft painted white can easily be mistaken for UN aircraft.[15] In addition, three Antonov 26 aircraft appear to have been fraudulently registered with the same number, ST-ZZZ, according to the UN Panel[16]. According to reliable aviation records, one of these planes was supplied from Russia to Sudan in September 2006. After one of the three planes crashed and its markings painted over, another was seen deployed in Darfur by the Sudanese government in September 2007.[17]

The UN Panel concluded that from September 2006 to June 2007, the Government of Sudan conducted offensive military overflights in Darfur, which included aerial bombardments by Antonov aircraft, aerial attacks by Mi-24 attack helicopters and the use of air assets for military surveillance. Sixty-six such aerial attacks were reported during that period, of which 24 were confirmed definitively. Despite this, in 2007 the Russian government continued to provide training to the Sudanese air force pilots.[18]

Arms Supplies to Sudan and Deployments in Darfur
Despite the serious ongoing violations of human rights and humanitarian law by the Sudanese armed forces, the Government was able to import military and civilian arms and ammunition worth $17.2 million in 2006 through commercial entities mostly from China but also Iran and Egypt, according to latest available customs data.[19] This total does not include government-to-government arms transfers to Sudan. Most of the recorded commercial imports of arms and ammunition relate to the following categories:

· “military weapons other than revolvers and pistols” accounted for $9.3 million, the bulk of which was 1,653 tons of weapons (54,406 items) from China worth $9.1 million;

· “armoured vehicles and parts” accounted for about $4 million, with a large shipment of 500 tons from Iran worth $2.9 million;

· “military revolvers and pistols” totalling $1.1 million, with the largest transfers from Egypt ($525,925) and China ($437,911), the latter for 36 tons and 1,403 items.

Recorded arms and ammunition shipped by Chinese commercial entities in 2006 accounted for 67 percent of Sudan’s commercial arms and ammunition imports that year according to the customs data, followed by those from Iran (18 percent), and Germany (6.9 percent, the largest transfer being for armoured vehicles). It is not known if such imports from China and Germany could be related to the UNMIS[20], to which China contributes military and police personnel and Germany provides police personnel. Ammunition for assault rifles and machine guns used in Darfur can be traced to China, Bulgaria and Iran.[21] Nevertheless, small arms and light weapons with Chinese manufacture markings were seen in the hands of Sudanese soldiers and militia backed by the Sudan armed forces in Darfur in late 2007 to mid 2008. These have included mortars, machine guns, single-barrel anti-aircraft guns, rocket propelled grenades, assault rifles and sniper rifles.[22]

Weapons and munitions of Janjawid fighters seen in Darfur during February 2008 included a considerable arsenal of mortars, rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns, mostly of Chinese origin, which they claimed was supplied by the Sudanese government in October 2007.[23] Mohammed Hamdan, the commander of one of the main Janjawid militia groups, with roughly 20,000 fighters in control of large areas of Southern Darfur, said in early 2008 that “the weapons, the cars, all that you see, we got it from the government...There were two places that had fallen to the rebels - Um Sidir and Kiryari [on the Chadian border] and after they fell, they [the Sudan government] called upon us…I had two meetings with the President. This was in September 2006. One meeting with the President was in his home. And they provided us with cars and weaponry and we moved to the Northern area.”[24] He claimed he and his 20,000 men defected from the Government in October 2007 and began forming alliances with non-Arab rebel groups who had been their enemies.[25]

Chadian armed opposition groups based in Darfur, with tacit and active support of the Government of Sudan, have also been using Chinese small arms and light weapons, as evidenced by the identity of arms captured from the Union of Forces of Democracy and Development (Union des forces pour la démocratie et le développement, UFDD) in November 2007 and admissions by the other main Chadian opposition group, the Rally of Forces for Change (Rassemblement des forces pour le changement, RFC) in 2007.[26] In 2006, members of the United Front for Democratic Change (Front Uni pour le Changement Démocratique au Tchad, FUC) were photographed carrying Chinese-made QLZ87 35mm automatic grenade launchers outside the town of El Geneina in western Darfur near the Chad border, and its commander had just claimed to have visited the People’s Republic of China.[27] The use of Chinese small arms and light weapons corresponds to the findings of the UN Panel of Experts monitoring the UN arms embargo on Darfur and to the commercial trade data on arms imports to Sudan.

A member of a Chadian armed group operating in the Chad-Sudan border area holds a QLZ87 35mm automatic grenade launcher made by Chinese arms company Norinco. © Daniel Pepper/Getty Pictures

Between September 2006 and July 2007, the UN Panel of Experts noted 409 military and police cargo flights to Darfur, with an aggregate load capacity of approximately 13,000 tons.[28] The UN Panel of Experts found evidence that many of these flights transported military material to Darfur and recommended that six cargo companies in Khartoum be placed on an aviation ban. The UN Panel of Experts named the companies violating the UN arms embargo as Ababeel Aviation, AZZA Transport, Badr Airlines, Juba Air Cargo, Trans Attico and United Arabian Airlines.[29] The UN Panel requested that “all States take measures to deny permission to any aircraft to take off from, land in, or overfly their territory if that aircraft is owned, leased or controlled by or operated on behalf of these companies…[and] further recommends the immediate and complete closure of all the companies’ offices, and ban on the directors and shareholders of these companies from establishing new aviation companies or purchasing or leasing aircraft.”[30]

Sudanese soldiers offloading military containers from an Antonov 12 aircraft onto military trucks, including a Chinese truck, at El Geneina. The UN Panel of Experts on the Sudan arms embargo for arms trafficking into Darfur called for the grounding of this aircraft. © Amnesty International

The Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China have been the main suppliers of military aircraft to the Sudan Air Force. The Russian Federation sold twelve Mi-24 attack helicopters to Sudan in 2005[31] and signed a deal to supply at least 15 Mi-8 helicopters to Sudan for delivery in 2005 and 2006.[32] Such helicopters have been persistently used for indiscriminate attacks and direct attacks on civilians in Darfur. In 2004, Russia also exported 12 MiG-29 military fighter jets to Sudan which were reportedly seen flying in Darfur that year.[33] In October 2006 the Sudanese Government reportedly asked the Russian Government for a US$1 billion loan to fund the purchase of new fighters and helicopter gunships. [34] Sudan acquired three Antonov 26 military utility planes, a type of aircraft used regularly for indiscriminate aerial bombing in Darfur, and one such aircraft was delivered from Russia to Sudan in March 2004 and another in September 2006.[35]

In 2006, China also supplied eight K-8 jet trainers to Sudan capable of being equipped with a cannon, rockets and bombs for air to ground attack and K-8 flight simulators from the China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corp (CATIC) / China Aviation Industry Corporation II (AVIC II) and Sudan is reportedly expected to acquire more K8 jets.[36] Photos taken in early 2008 of a K-8 jet in Sudanese Air Force livery (No. 802) show it fitted with fuselage-mounted machine gun pod and two wing-mounted rocket pods. In addition, Chinese F-7M military jets (modelled on the MiG-21) were transferred to Sudan in the early 1990s, and Sudan obtained 16 between 2006 and 2007 according to one authoritative source.[37] Eight of the 17 Chinese Shenjang F6 jets reportedly transferred to Sudan in the 1990s were still operational in 2007.[38] In addition, during 2007 Sudan reportedly began negotiations for the purchase of twelve Chinese FC1 jet fighters.[39]

Sudan also acquired Nanchang A5 “Fantan” jets from China which were first seen in Darfur in January 2007 and have been used for air to ground attacks in Darfur.[40] On 19 February 2008, two Fantans were used in an aerial attack at Beybey where three large bombs were dropped in a settlement killing eight civilians, including children, and wounding others. Shrapnel was spread over a wide area. Two Fantans have since been seen flying westward from Nyala with bombs and returning without them.[41] The Fantans have recently been given maintenance services by Chinese technicians and allegedly Sudanese pilots have been trained in China to fly the Fantans.[42]

The devastating impact of using combinations of these different weapons can be shown by the following example documented by the UN Panel in October 2007.[43] On 11 September 2006, the Sudan air force attacked Deribat and other surrounding villages with fighter aircraft believed to be Fantan jets which made low overhead passes, causing panic, while Mi-24 helicopters fired rockets and bursts of machine-gun fire into the village. Antonov aircraft dropped bombs randomly onto the village and surrounding areas. This aerial assault continued periodically until 11 December 2006 during which the village came under 13 aerial attacks, and a total of about 50 bombs and rockets impacted on or near the village. A total of 37 people were injured. Similar attacks occurred on the surrounding villages.[44] Afterwards in late December 2006 the Sudan armed forces, Arab militia and Fur tribesmen launched a coordinated attack on Katur and other villages south of Deribat. The attack was preceded by an aerial assault. Then attackers swept through the village looting and firing machine guns and other weapons into the houses and shops. Then the pillaged goods were loaded into trucks. Similar attacks occurred in other villages in the area. Several thousand civilians were displaced from their villages as a result of the attacks, and 34 women were reportedly raped during the attacks.[45]

The Sudanese government procured 212 military trucks from the Dong Feng Automobile Import and Export Limited in China that arrived at Port Sudan in August 2005.[46] Some of these trucks are used to deploy troops and militia in Darfur in violation of the UN arms embargo.[47] The Sudanese army has used military trucks to facilitate attacks in Darfur during which serious human rights violations have been committed. For example, Sudanese government soldiers used a Dong Feng truck, allegedly with a Chinese-made anti-aircraft gun, in an attack on Sirba on 15 December 2007 where eyewitnesses saw the gun being fired at village huts and one woman was burned alive and two others were badly disfigured by their wounds.[48] One witness recounted: “We saw a Dong Feng. It started firing. People began screaming. The shooting continued until the houses were burning. The woman was burned on her legs. Her body had a bullet hole that went from her chest to her back.”[49]

The UN Panel of Experts has also documented cases of large-scale looting by Sudanese government soldiers accompanied by Janjawid militia in Darfur with trucks.[50] Also photographed in Nyala, Darfur in March 2007, were six new-looking armoured personnel carriers appearing to be the same as the 4x4 BRDM-2 armoured vehicles previously supplied by Belarus and reportedly of Russian origin - 39 were delivered from Belarus in 2003 and another 21 were delivered from Belarus in 2004.[51] In addition, Russia and Belarus also supplied 8x8 infantry support BTR-80 and BTR-70 armoured personnel carriers to Sudan in 2000, 2004 and 2005.[52]

On 1 January 2008, the Sudanese government displayed a range of heavy weaponry in Khartoum which from video footage included Chinese Type 85 tanks, Chinese Type 59 tanks, Russian T-54 or 55 tanks, Chinese ZSL92 6-wheeled armoured vehicles with mounted canons, Russian M-46 field guns and Chinese 35 Type 59 -1 canon,[53] Belarussian D-30 122 mm howitzers,[54] Chinese Type-55 37mm anti-aircraft gun manufactured by NORINCO,[55] SA-7 GRAIL man-portable SAM systems probably made in Russia,[56] Iranian armoured personnel carriers, Russian 12-round BM-21 GRAD multiple launch rocket systems transferred from Belarus,[57] Egyptian SAKR multiple launch rocket systems[58] and assorted small arms. Apart from the deployment of artillery, small arms and light weapons, it is not known whether the military equipment on public display has been deployed into Darfur but there is a clear risk that some of these items will be deployed there.[59]

In September 2007, the Sudanese Minister of Defence, Lt-Gen Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, told reporters that Sudan’s main military suppliers are Belarus, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia and Russia, and that recently Sudan has signed cooperation deals with China and Russia to modernize its air force.[60] The Minister of Defence said that his government was striving to produce a wider range of military equipment locally within Sudan. According to the Military Industrial Company’s (MIC’s) website, the Elshaheed Ibrahim Shams Eldeen Complex “has been established in 2002 to produce heavy machineries and armoured vehicles. The complex has many factories to produce tanks, armoured personnel carriers, self-propelled artilleries, bulldozers and excavators for civil and military purposes.” However, there is some doubt as to what extent the Sudan factories can produce such military equipment as opposed to maintenance and simple assembly of imported components. In any case this production would almost certainly require the active support of the original supplier companies in China, Russia, Iran and Egypt.

Arms Supplies via Chad
Sudanese armed opposition groups committing grave human rights abuses in Darfur continued to receive small arms, light weapons and ammunition allegedly from Chad to supplement those captured from Sudanese armed forces and militia. The UN Panel of Experts' report of October 2007 documented the transfer of arms to armed opposition groups operating in Darfur and noted the repeated unloading of suspected military supplies in Abeché, eastern Chad near the border with Darfur, from an Antonov 12 cargo aircraft that flew with a fake Kazakhstan registration number (thereby using the registration “UN”) and under the name of a company that no longer exists.[61]

The UN Panel documented two cases of arms deliveries via Chad, including approximately 3,000 AK-47 assault rifles to the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) active in Darfur. The UN Panel report had a picture of new-looking Tavor-21 bullpup assault rifles made by Israel Weapon Industries, reportedly seized by the Government of Sudan from the National Redemption Front (NRF, an armed group alliance operating in Darfur in 2006).[62] The following Israeli guns reportedly were seized by the Sudanese Government forces from armed groups in El Geneina - Tavor 5.56mm: serial number 34800168, Israel Weapon Industries Ltd. - Galil 5.56mm: serial number 2052161, Hebrew markings and seal - Galil 5.56mm: serial number 99114948, Model 707 (IMI). According to sources in Israel, the Israeli Ministry of Defence admitted that these guns were sold by Israel to Chad.

Sudanese armed groups, especially JEM whose members include those with close ties to Chad, received backing from the Chadian government and armed forces. For example, in early January 2008, JEM backed by Chadian armed forces clashed with the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development- Fundamental (Union des forces pour le développement et la démocratie – Fondamental, UFDD-F), a Chadian armed opposition group based in Darfur and supported by the Sudanese government. Sources in Sudan claimed the Chadian government forces were using at least one Swiss Pilatus light plane for bombing in West Darfur accompanied by one Mi-17 military helicopter and one Mi-24 attack helicopter.[63]

Swiss aircraft manufacturer Pilatus confirmed in January 2008 that Chad’s military aircraft fleet includes three Pilatus PC-7 turboprops, plus one Pilatus PC-9M bought by the Chadian air force in 2006 to replace a PC-7 it had purchased from France.[64] Most countries use Pilatus aircraft as trainers, but a PC-9 can be modified to carry up to 1,040 kg / 2,900 pounds of ordnance, and PC-7s can also be equipped with up to six hardpoints to carry munitions. Pilatus aircraft do not fall under the strict Swiss War Material Act, which forbids the export of military aircraft to combat zones. Instead, they are subject to Switzerland’s Goods Control Act (GKG) that covers dual-use goods and armaments. The sale of the replacement PC-9 was approved by the Swiss government in June 2006, reportedly on the condition that it would be used only to train pilots. Chad’s air force has two Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters and Mi-17 medium utility helicopters, which can be armed, and were allegedly also used in the attacks in January 2008. Chad also has two remaining old Aermacchi SF-260 turboprop trainer/ light attack aircraft from the nine captured from Libya during the 1980s. However, the Chadian air force is small compared to that of Sudan.

After the Chadian army fought with Chadian armed opposition groups near Abeche in late November 2007, commanders of the armed group took some journalists to see the captured weapons and damaged Chadian army equipment. One of the photos taken shows a damaged Chadian army armoured vehicle armed with heavy machine gun and other weapons mounts. It is an Israeli RAM-2000 vehicle, produced by the Ramta division of Israel Aircraft Industries. This type of vehicle only started appearing in the market around 2004.

In September 2006 La Lettre du Continent reported that the President of Chad had signed a contract on 5 September 2006 with a South African company for the delivery of 82 AML-90 armoured vehicles to be delivered with ammunition through Belgium.[65] On 3 March 2007, the Chadian media source claimed that a first delivery “of an order of forty French manufactured armoured tanks, AML 90, delivered in Belgium by South Africa” had arrived in Chad. The report added further that: “the armoured tanks are intended for the town of Adre and its surroundings to prevent the progression of the Chadian rebellion”[66] near the Sudanese border. On 7 December 2007, an Israeli website for military photographs showed an AFP picture taken on 6 December 2007 of “Chadian soldiers on armoured vehicles south of the Kapka mountain range in the east of the country near the border with Sudan's troubled Darfur region”. The armoured vehicles were Eland (AML-90).[67] A Belgian company known for supplying such armoured vehicles, approached by Amnesty International declined to confirm or deny delivering them to Chad,[68] but its website stated that the company “buys military vehicles and surplus goods, and resells after reconditioning them in its workshops. The company is particularly well known for supplying tracked armoured vehicles (AMX-13s, M109s and M113s), armoured wheeled vehicles (AML 60s / 90s) and riot-control vehicles (BDXs). Sabiex currently stocks Eland 60s / 90s (the South African version of the AML).”[69]

On 7 February 2008, Le Point reported that Libya had supplied Chad with ammunition for T-55 tanks and missiles for the Mi-24 attack helicopter. French military aircraft reportedly transported both items.[70] On 14 February 2008, the French Ministry of Defence acknowledged that the French army had helped the Chadian government with the transportation of ammunition from Libya, but the Minister did not say if French aircraft were used. He did reportedly say that Libyan aircraft could have delivered the ammunition, because various Libyan aircraft had landed at N'Djamena airport during the crisis.[71] In February 2008, the French government also announced its readiness to sell ERYX missiles to the Chadian armed forces.

France has been a commercial supplier of cartridges and firearms to Chad but in 2006, the largest commercial supplier of cartridges to Chad was Serbia which recorded the delivery of 48,610 kilograms of cartridges worth nearly $900,000.[72] On 3 February 2008, Chadian security forces came to arrest Ngarlejy Yorongar, a Chadian Member of Parliament and opposition leader at his home. They shot and injured his chauffeur in the right hand and then arrested the MP. Amnesty International was shown an ammunition round and a cartridge casing that were found at the compound and identified it as being of Chinese origin manufactured in 2006. Markings from another cartridge used in the attack suggest that one was of French origin.[73]

The lack of border control between Chad and Sudan, combined with active support in Chad for Darfur rebel groups, led the UN Panel on Darfur to suggest in October 2007 that an arms embargo should be imposed by the Security Council on eastern Chad (the Wadi Fira and Ouaddaï regions) to curtail illegal arms shipments to armed groups such as JEM in Darfur and help strengthen the UN arms embargo on the parties to the conflict in Darfur including the Sudan armed forces and militia. Under this arrangement, the Government of Chad could seek exemptions from the UN Security Council for arms transfers to garrisons in these two regions, with UNAMID and/or the EU Force authorized to monitor and inspect all such transfers. Alternatively, this mandate could be given to the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) instead of UNAMID.

Lessons from the Case of Darfur
Amnesty International believes that no government could be unaware of the serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and breaches of the UN arms embargo. Transfers of arms and military assistance, including with maintenance, production and training, have continued to flow to the Sudanese government forces and the allied militia and paramilitary organizations which have continued to use those transfers to commit violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Darfur on a large scale, including through indiscriminate aerial attacks by the Sudanese air force on villages. In addition, armed groups opposed to the Government of Sudan have continued to acquire arms and commit grave human rights abuses and violations of humanitarian law. The Darfur conflict has escalated and overflowed into Chad and the conflict in Chad has adversely affected Darfur.

There is evidence of military assistance and arms transfers by China and Russia to the Government of Sudan after the UN arms embargo was extended to include the Government of Sudan in March 2005. Some such transfers were deployed into Darfur by the Sudanese government in breach of the UN embargo. If China and Russia did not take necessary measures to prevent such transfers from being transferred and used in Darfur as required by the Security Council, for example by insisting on adherence to satisfactory end use certificates and by notifying the Sanctions Committee in advance of intended transfers to Sudan, then two Permanent Members of the Security Council could themselves have breached the UN embargo.

However, a mandatory UN arms embargo such as the one on the parties to the conflict in Darfur should not depend for its application on the Government of Sudan’s assurances or certificates about its end-use of military transfers, since the Government of Sudan has repeatedly violated the UN embargo and continues to commit serious violations of human rights and IHL in Darfur. Thus, Amnesty International supports the recommendation of the UN Panel of Experts in March 2007 to extend the UN arms embargo to the whole of Sudan with certain targeted exceptions (e.g. for peacekeeping) in order to increase the chances that no military transfers reach the Government of Sudan and any of the other parties of the conflict in Darfur.

Nevertheless, the international community has to face up to the fact that compliance with UN arms embargoes depends crucially on Member States having in place coherent laws and regulations as well as dedicated administrative and law enforcement capacity to control international transfers of arms, related equipment and military assistance programs. In most cases, such systems of coherent state laws, regulations and corresponding capacities are insufficient to prevent the violation of UN arms embargoes. By establishing an ATT with high common standards of control of conventional arms transfers, international cooperation and assistance between States and UN bodies to implement UN arms embargoes could be much more effective.
[1] Amnesty International, Sudan: Arming the Perpetrators of Grave Abuses in Darfur of 16 November 2004 AI Index: AFR 54/139/2004.

[2] Final report of the Panel of Experts as requested by the Security Council in paragraph 2 of Resolution 1713 (2006), 3 October 2007, S/2007/584.

[3] Amnesty International Sudan: Arms continuing to fuel serious human rights violations in Darfur May 2007 (AI Index: AFR ), Amnesty International News Release, “Sudan: New photographs show further breach of UN arms embargo on Darfur” 24 August 2007.

[4] Eyewitness reports, October 2007.

[5] Confidential sources, January 2008.

[6] UN Panel report S/2007/584, September 2007; On 24 February 2007 an Antonov-12 (ST-AQE) operated by Azza Transport, although belonging to United Arabian Airlines, had crash-landed at El Geneina airport while carrying arms and military personnel (122mm two artillery howitzers and 40 to 50 olive drab wooden boxes suspected to contain arms and ammunition). On 29 May 2007, AZZA Transport was added to the economic sanctions list of the US Office of Foreign Assets Control for “constituting a threat to peace and stability in Darfur, and to have directly or indirectly supplied, sold, or transferred arms or any related materiel to belligerents in Darfur."

[7] Confidential source, January 2008.

[8] Report on Sudan by the UN Secretary General, 14 February 2008.

[9] S/2006/1591: para 6. The term “offensive military overflight” is discussed in the UN Panel of Experts’ October 2006 report (S/2006/795 paragraph 215) is defined according to the following criteria: “• Overflights in pursuit of a specific military objective that are undertaken for purposes other than defending the aircraft from a clear and imminent threat.• Use of the aircraft to achieve a military advantage disproportionate to that required to neutralize a clear and imminent threat.• Unprovoked attack with aircraft, such as strafing or bombing of villages.• Use of aircraft in support of offensive ground operations.• Retaliatory attack, that is, action in response to a prior attack.• Flights that deposit troops participating in an imminent offensive operation.• Operation of the aircraft in a manner to intimidate or harass, for example flying mock attack runs, frightening children and animals, circling over an area for a considerable period of time without any operational reason with the aim of scaring people and animals, destroying buildings with rotor wash, sonic booms and the like

[10] “Envoy to Sudan pledges effort on weapon sales”, Associated Press 11 July 2007 reported that “the mainland's special envoy to Sudan has pledged that Beijing would try to prevent the weapons it sold to Sudan from being used in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million made refugees since 2003, when ethnic African rebels took up arms against Sudan's Arab-dominated government. Liu Guijin said the mainland would do its best to prevent weapons from finding their way into the wrong hands. While he outlined no specific measures, Mr Liu said the issue of where Chinese arms went and how they were used was something he had discussed with Khartoum.”

[11] UN Panel report October 2006, S/2006/795.

[12] UN Panel interim report March 2007, 07-27380.

[13] UN Panel report October 2007, S/2007/584.

[14] UN Panel report S/2007/584, paragraphs 201 to 210.

[15] UN Panel first reported on the use of white aircraft by the Government of Sudan in October 2006; see S/2006/795: §205 – 213.

[16] UN Panel Interim Report, April 2007.

[17] UN Panel report S/2007/584, paragraphs 209-210.

[18] Confidential source.

[19] UN Comtrade data, checked 8 March 2008.

[20] UNMIS is the acronym for the United Nations Mission in Sudan. UNMIS is a UN peace support operation set up under Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter. It is made up of civilian, military and police components. The UN Security Council authorized the establishment of UNMIS through its adoption of Resolution 1590 on 24 March 2005, following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

[21] Photographs of ammunition markings found in Darfur.

[22] Photographic records.

[23] Film and photographic evidence and testimony collected for the television documentary film, “Meet the Janjaweed”, broadcast on ”Unreported World” Channel 4 television in March 2008.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Photgraphic records of UFDD equipment displayed by Chadian government 27 November 2007 and interviews with RFC during 2007.

[27] Eyewitness accounts and photographs provided to Amnesty International of arms held by the United Front for Democracy and Change (French initials FUCD), see

[28] UN Report S/2007/584, page 33.

[29] UN Report S/2007/584, recommendation number 13, page 6.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Reported by Russia to the UN Register on Conventional Arms for 2005 and photographed in Darfur from January 2007.

[32] As reported by Russian authorities to the Moscow Defence Brief 1/2006. Note that Mi-8 helicopters are also made with minor variations as Mi-17 helicopters.

[33] Amnesty International, November 2004, op cit. In May 2008 a Russian jet was apparently shot down by JEM and its pilot killed.; The Sudan Tribune claimed on 21 July 2008 that 12 Russian-made MiG-29 planes had been secretly delivered to Sudan via Belarus, but both the Russian and Belarus authorities denied the export had taken place; see The Moscow Times “Arms Firm Denies Sudan Link”, Issue 3950, 23 July 2008, and RIA Novosti, 21 July 2008

[34] UN Register of Conventional Arms for 2004; Flight International, 21-27 November 2006; “MiG-29 Fulcrum High-Performance Combat Aircraft, Russia”,, undated,; “Russian MiGs in Sudan”, Charles R. Smith,, 4 January 2002,; “Mig-29SMT – Contracts, Orders, Sales” (regarding transfers to Sudan). “African MiGs – Part 3” by Tom Cooper, Air Combat Information Group (,; “Sudan: Civil War Since 1955” by Tom Cooper, Air Combat Information Group (, 2 September 2003,

[35] Delivery of Antonov registration ST-ZZZ in September 2006 according to aviation sources including Aero Transport DataBase; for background see Amnesty International Report Sudan: Arming the Perpetrators of Grave Abuses in Darfur, 16 November 2004 AI Index: AFR 54/139/2004, pg. 10; "World Military Aircraft Inventory", Aviation Week & Space Technology, 2005-2007.

[36] “China and Sudan pledge closer military ties”, Jane's Defence Industry, 1 May 2007; Amnesty International, May 2007, op cit, and photographs of K-8 jets in Sudan; and Air Forces Monthly, December 2006. For the supply of flight simulators, see

[37] "World Military Aircraft Inventory", 15 January 2007, and "World Military Aircraft Inventory", Aviation Week & Space Technology, 17 January 2005.

[38] Ibid, "World Military Aircraft Inventory", 1999-2007

[39] Andrai Chang, “China selling advanced weapons to Sudan” UPI, 15 February 2008

[40] Three Fantan jets were photographed in Darfur in January and March 2007.

[41] BBC Panorama, “China’s Secret War”, 14 July 2008.

[42] Ibid.

[43] UN Panel in October 2007 S/2007/584, page 82.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Ibid.

[46] UN report S/2006/65.

[47] UN Report S/2006/65, 30 January 2006, and direct sighting in Darfur.

[48] Eye witnees testimonies and research conducted in Darfur by the BBC for a television documentary broadcast by Panorama program on 14 July 2008

[49] Ibid

[50] See for example UN Report S/2007/584, pages 78 and 82

[51] UN Register of Conventional Arms for 2003 and Moscow Defence Brief, 1/2005

[52] Moscow Defence Brief 1/2006; for background see Jane’s Armour and Artillery 2001-2002 – reprinted in Amnesty International, Sudan: Arming the Perpetrators of Grave Abuses in Darfur, 16 November 2004, AI Index: AFR 54/139/2004 - pp. 13; “Arzamas BTR-80A APC”, Jane's Defence Weekly, 16 June 2004. Also see: Jane’s Armour and Artillery, 2003-2004, pp. 520;

[53] Jane’s Armour and Artillery 2003-2004, pp. 782

[54] UN Register of Conventional Arms, Trade in Large Calibre Artillery Systems (Category III), 2002,; UN Register of Conventional Arms, 2003,$FILE/sg58.203.pdf.

[55] Jane’s Land-Based Air Defence, 1995-96, pp. 188

[56] Jane’s Land-Based Air Defence, 1995-96, pp.38. These could also have been made in Bulgaria, Czech Rep. Slovakia, Poland, Romanian and the former Yugoslavia.

[57] Jane’s Armour and Artillery 2003-2004, pp. 889.

[58] Jane’s Armour and Artillery 2003-2004, pp. 854; and

[59] Deployment of artillery in Darfur was reported by the UN Panel in October 2007 S/2007/584

[60] Sudan Tribune 3 September 2007.

[61] UN Panel report October 2007, paragraph 135.

[62] Interim report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan, submitted pursuant to resolution 1713 (2006), April 2007, p.14 Fig. 2.

[63] “Swiss government summons Chad ambassador after Swiss”;; “Swiss Kerfuffle Over Chad’s Use of Pilatus Aircraft”, Defense Industry Daily, 23 January 2008.

[64] “Swiss Kerfuffle Over Chad’s Use of Pilatus Aircraft”, Defence Industry Daily, 23 January 2008.

[65] “Les frères Erdimi à l'offensive...”, La Lettre du Continent, 29 September 2006.



[68] Email from Sabiex to International Peace Information Service on 4 July 2007. “Vu la confidentialité due à nos clients, laquelle est par ailleurs toujours partie intégrante de tous nos contrats de vente, Sabiex a pour politique de ne jamais ni confirmé ni infirmer ce genre de rumeurs” [Translation - “In light of confidentiality supplied to our clients, which is an integral part of all our sales contracts, Sabiex' policy is not to confirm nor deny such rumours.”]


[70] “Munitions libyennes pour le Tchad via l'armée française”, Le Point, 07/02/2008.

[71] “Tchad : la France reconnaît avoir acheminé des munitions libyennes”, AFP, 14/02/2008.

[72] UN Comtrade Data 2006

[73] Either from French manufacturer, Manurhin Equipment, which now ostensibly only makes small arms ammunition manufacturing equipment, not ammunition itself, or manufactured in 2000 by Euro Impact which was the ammunition division of the French Government-owned Giat Industries (now Nexter); see the company website last accessed 4 June 2008; Arrêté du 18 décembre 2006 autorisant la société GIAT Industries à prendre ou à augmenter des participations au capital de sociétés (

In July 2008, a BBC Television report presented evidence of Chinese army trucks and several A5 Fantan fighter planes in Darfur. In February 2008, Fantan fighter planes were used to bomb the town of Beybey in Darfur in which a number of civilians were reportedly killed. In June 2008, the BBC acquired satellite photographs of two Fantan fighter planes at Nyala airport in South Darfur. 17
New Chinese Tanks in Sudan
by James Dunnigan
March 5, 2008

Chinese Type 96 (also called Type 88C) tanks were spotted in Sudan since last year, indicating that China has exported one of its most modern tanks to Africa. The 50 ton Type 96 has three man crews and modern sensors and electronics. The 90 series tanks are Chinese designs, and there appear to be as many as 2500 Type 90 series tanks in service, with as many as two thirds of them Type 96s. There are another 700 Type 79s and 80s, both of which were stepping stones to the 90 series. Most Chinese tanks, about 5,000, are Type 59s. Most of these have been upgraded from being a clone of the Russian T-54 to T-54 clones equipped with Western guns (copy of the British L7 105mm gun, firing depleted uranium shells) and modern electronics. China also has a copy of the German 120mm gun, which it may try to install in some Type 59 upgrades. Those Type 59s that don't get upgraded are being scrapped. This apparently means that the Type 59 force will shrink by at least several hundred tanks a year until all are gone.

Sudan has, until recently, had a tank force consisting mostly of about 200 Chinese Type 59s, but some of these appear to have been upgraded by the Chinese. Also spotted in Sudan have been Chinese Type 92 wheeled infantry fighting vehicle (similar to the U.S. Stryker).

China is very strict about keeping information on its tank force secret. The most modern tanks they have are the Type 98 and 99, which come close to matching early models of the U.S. M-1.
China, Angola sets up strategic partnership
09:35, November 20, 2010

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Angola's Vice President Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos during their meeting in Luanda, capital of Angola, Nov. 19, 2010. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

Visiting Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping said here in Luanda on Friday that China and Angola would, during his visit, publish a join declaration on establishing strategic partnership between the two countries.

Xi made the remarks when holding talks with Angolan Vice President Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos, saying that this symbolizes a new stage for the relationship between China and Angola, according to a press release issued by the Chinese delegation.

After the talks, the two leaders witnessed a ceremony for signing seven inter-governmental cooperation agreements, covering economic technology, energy, mining, agriculture and finance.

During the talks, Xi lauded the energetic development of China and Angola's bilateral relations.

During the first nine months of this year, the bilateral trade volume increased by 80.8 percent over the same period of last year, hitting a record high.

Looking ahead, Xi also put forward a four-point proposal to further boost bilateral strategic partnership, including enhancing political trust, pushing forward substantial cooperation, expanding people-to-people and cultural exchange, and strengthening coordination in the international arena.

The Angolan vice president said that the Angola-China cooperation had not only contributed to Angola's economic reconstruction and people's lives, but also helped meet the needs for China's economy and energy consumption.

He said Angola is willing to elevate its relations with China in a comprehensive manner, according to the press release.

Source: Xinhua

While the world focuses on the flood-ravaged Indus River valley, a quiet geopolitical crisis is unfolding in the Himalayan borderlands of northern Pakistan, where Islamabad is handing over de facto control of the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the northwest corner of disputed Kashmir to China.

But reports from a variety of foreign intelligence sources, Pakistani journalists and Pakistani human rights workers reveal two important new developments in Gilgit-Baltistan: a simmering rebellion against Pakistani rule and the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army.

China wants a grip on the region to assure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan.

Many of the P.L.A. soldiers entering Gilgit-Baltistan are expected to work on the railroad. Some are extending the Karakoram Highway, built to link China’s Sinkiang Province with Pakistan. Others are working on dams, expressways and other projects.

Mystery surrounds the construction of 22 tunnels in secret locations where Pakistanis are barred. Tunnels would be necessary for a projected gas pipeline from Iran to China that would cross the Himalayas through Gilgit. But they could also be used for missile storage sites.

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