China Sells Weapons To South Sudan Amid Civil War, Famine

China Sells Weapons To South Sudan Amid Civil War, Famine

Written by Ilya Gridneff | From Bloomberg

China is selling $38 million worth of missiles, grenade launchers, machine guns and ammunition to South Sudan’s government, even as it pledges to help end a civil war in the country now on the brink of famine.

China North Industries Group Corp., the nation’s biggest arms manufacturer known as Norinco, shipped a consignment of weapons to the East African nation last month, according to marine-insurance documents sent to Bloomberg by an industry representative and confirmed by the broker handling insurance for the shipment. South Sudanese Defense Minister General Kuol Manyang Juuk confirmed the purchase and said the consignment was ordered “well before” he was appointed in July, five months before violence broke out in the country on Dec. 15.

“My role is to defend the nation,” Juuk said. “That means I have to arm my army. The army has to be equipped.”

China is one of the biggest buyers of South Sudan’s oil, output of which has fallen by a third to about 160,000 barrels a day since fighting between President Salva Kiir’s government and insurgents loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar started six months ago. Thousands of people have died in the conflict and more than 1.5 million have been forced to flee their homes, according to the United Nations.

Officials at Norinco, as the Chinese company is known, didn’t respond to two e-mailed requests for comment. A person who answered one of at least six phone calls to the company and who declined to identify himself said he would comment later.

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