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The following is an unauthorized version of the Report of the Panel of Experts to the United Nations on Sierra Leone.
This is not the official report. The official report has not yet been released. The report posted here is subject to change by the sanctions committee.



195. Weapons can be procured directly from producing factories, or from surplus stocks of the armed forces in different countries. It is mainly through arms merchants or brokers that weapons are purchased for use by non-state actors. In the case of the RUF, private brokers and arms merchants are the principal suppliers, but most large arms and ammunition supplies only reach the RUF indirectly, through countries with governments sympathetic to the rebels.

196. The Panel has found conclusive evidence of supply lines to the RUF through Burkina Faso, Niger and Liberia. Weapons supplied to these countries by governments or private arms merchants have been diverted for use in the conflict in Sierra Leone. Cote d'Ivoire, under previous administrations, was sympathetic to the Liberian government and, indirectly, to the RUF in Sierra Leone. The Ivorian relationship dates back to the training of RUF and Liberian rebels in Cote d'Ivoire in the early 1990s.

197. Typically, the movement of the arms from a supplying country to the RUF will entail several stop-overs and cross-border shipments. This should expose arms dealers, especially those breaking United Nations sanctions, to controls, legal procedures and regulations on the export, import and transit of military equipment. Since weapons have moved into the region and across borders with impunity, it can only be assumed that the parties involved - the brokers and suppliers of arms to the RUF - have obtained cooperation from border and customs inspectors, and licensing government departments in order to circumvent UN sanctions and normal border controls.

198. The President of Burkina Faso is a close ally of President Charles Taylor and Burkina Faso has acknowledged the presence of over 400 Burkinabe soldiers in Liberia during the time Taylor was leading his rebellion in 1994 and 1995. Provision was made in the government budget to cover salaries for the services rendered during this period. Burkina Faso has repeatedly denied the involvement of its nationals in supporting the RUF. Eyewitnesses and former RUF combatants, however, confirm the active involvement of Burkinabes with the RUF. A Burkinabe, 'General' Ibrahim Bah (a.k.a. Baldé) - referred to in paragraphs 73-4 - handles much of the financial, diamond and weapons transactions between the RUF, Liberia and Burkina Faso. He shuttles regularly between Monrovia and Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso's involvement in weapons transfers is detailed below.


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