May 23, 2007: An all too believable accusation is making the rounds in the European media. The charge is that, last year, a UN investigative team learned that some UN peacekeepers had sold arms and bartered gold with members of an illegal militia in the Congo in 2005. Specifically, a Pakistani unit operating in the town of Mongbwalu (northeast Congo) was involved in the arms trade and illegal gold purchasing operations. The report said a "small number" of personnel were involved. The arms traded to the militiamen were arms that had been "harvested" (collected) from various militias. The "circular arms trade" is an old problem that has cropped up in numerous insurgencies. Guerrilla arms are seized and then sold back to the guerrillas by criminal gangs or soldiers operating with criminal gangs. In the case of the Congo, it looks like some of the peacekeepers were "freelancing" on their own.Unconfirmed, but not all that surprising.
24 May, 2007
Peacekeepers get in the arms business