An assortment of over 40 tons of weaponry suspected to be destined to South Sudan landed at Entebbe International Airport aboard a Russian civilian aircraft, an Ilyushin II – 76TD – 90VD on Tuesday this week.
According to sources at the airport, the consignment consisted of 31 tons of AK-47 rifles, bayonets, extra magazines and other weapons. There was also another 12 tons of what was termed as hazardous cargo.
The consignment was loaded on waiting vehicles and whisked away toward Kampala.
“The consignment reached here early on Tuesday and was promptly taken out of the place,” a source at the airport said.
The consignment imported through Ugandan registered Bosasy Logistics Ltd, we understand, is sourced from the Bulgarian’s VIMM AD Company, a supplier Uganda has never used according to past records.
In 2010 Uganda procured machine guns and grenade launchers from Bulgaria and Ukraine, the same year six fighter jets were purchased from Russia without Parliament’s approval.
The use of security equipment and military hardware company, Bosasy Logistics Limited, which was named in the 2016 United Nation’s report as one of the suppliers of arms to the embargoed South Sudan; coupled with the involvement of the Russian Embassy in Kampala could be a hint that the consignment was headed for Juba.
The Russian Embassy wrote to the South Sudanese Embassy in Kampala on August 7th 2017 requesting for permission for their civil aircraft to use the volatile nation’s airspace on Tuesday this week.
“The Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Uganda presents its compliments to the Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan in the Republic of Uganda and has honor to request a permit for a Russian civil aircraft IL-76TD-90VD, belonging to Volga-Dnper Airlines, to overfly the territory of the Republic of South Sudan on August 29, 2017,” part of the letter from Russian Embassy said.
When contacted by ChimpReports, the UPDF/Ministry of Defense and Veterans Affairs Spokesman, Brig. Richard Karemire briefly said that the UPDF has no say and it is the responsibility of the government of South Sudan.
“That is a matter for the government of South Sudan and UPDF has no say on it,” Brig. Karemire briefly said.
Efforts to get a comment from SPLA Spokesman Col. Santo Dominic were futile since several phone calls were not picked or returned.
However the Public Relations Officer of Bosasy Logistics Ltd, Sasha Ampaire vehemently denied that the weapons are meant for South Sudan but instead for the UPDF.
“Any allegation suggesting that Bosasy is importing weapons to be sent to South Sudan is a total lie and we have never done it. The latest consignment is for Uganda,” Ms. Ampaire said noting that she is not ordinarily supposed to talk to any journalist about her company’s dealings with the UPDF.
When pressed on the 2016 UN Panel of Experts report that implicated Bosasy in smuggling weapons to South Sudan, Ms. Ampaire said the report remained a mere allegation that was never substantiated.
“The UN guys came here and we shared with them all the necessary documents and everything was resolved,” she added.
She however refused to give ChimpReports the same documents shared with the UN experts.
It should be remembered that in October 2014 Uganda signed a military and defense cooperation agreement with South Sudan. In the agreement Uganda is supposed to buy arms for South Sudan since the UN placed arms embargo on Juba.