Kenya and Uganda are helping prolong the four-year-old civil war in South Sudan by serving as conduits for arms to combatants, a United Nations official said on Monday.
“The responsibility to prevent atrocities is regional and international,” Adama Dieng, the UN special advisor for prevention of genocide, told Voice of America.
“It is true that large quantities of weapons and ammunition are flowing into South Sudan through Kenya and Uganda.”
Mr Dieng said peace will be achieved in South Sudan only “if we have concerted regional and international efforts to leave no further options to the South Sudanese leaders to stop and start negotiating.”
“International partners have to start targeting the accomplices, intermediaries of the South Sudanese parties,” Mr Dieng declared. “Welcoming refugees who are victims of a conflict they are de facto facilitating is not good enough,” he added.
Uganda is hosting more than one million refugees from South Sudan, while Kenya’s Kakuma camp holds more than 100,000.
Mr Dieng did not indicate whether the governments of Kenya and Uganda are directly involved in arms trafficking to South Sudan. He also did not say whether the weapons are intended for the country’s military or rebel forces — or possibly both.
But a UN panel of experts reported last November it had obtained “documentary evidence” of a cargo flight containing 31 tonnes of weapons that arrived in Entebbe, Uganda, in August.
Kampala-based Bosasy Logistics was listed as consignee for this shipment, which was said to have originated in Bulgaria. The arms were to be transferred to South Sudan, according to unnamed sources cited by the UN experts. Uganda has openly sided with the South Sudan government since the start of the civil war in December 2013.