South Sudan sets limits on NGOs and companies using foreign staff


South Sudan sets limits on hiring foreign workers

JUBA Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:50pm BST

South Sudan's new Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin addresses the audience during the Heads of States and Governments International Conference on the Great Lakes Region in Nairobi July 31, 2013.  REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

South Sudan’s new Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin addresses the audience during the Heads of States and Governments International Conference on the Great Lakes Region in Nairobi July 31, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Thomas Mukoya

(Reuters) – South Sudan will from next month require that companies and non-government organisations (NGOs) employ South Sudanese citizens unless they are unable to find locals with the necessary skills.

A government circular this week outlined the new rules, causing a stir as the published version said that only South Sudanese could be hired without mentioning exceptions. The foreign minister clarified the issue in a statement to Reuters.

“You need to give employment to the citizens except in those places where there is no capacity,” Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said, speaking by telephone.

Until now, companies or agencies operating in South Sudan have faced no such limitations on employment, hiring foreigners as they pleased without notifying the authorities. Now they will need to justify any decision to hire foreign staff to the Labour Ministry, the minister said.

The new law brings South Sudan – Africa’s newest country since it gained independence from Sudan in 2011 – into line with other nations in east Africa and beyond, where to secure a work permit employers have to show why a foreigner needs to be hired.

Many foreigners work in South Sudan for aid agencies, which often require specialist medical skills or field experience, or oil firms, which often employ people with technical or other industry skills. At least three Kenyan banks or their joint ventures operate in South Sudan and bankers say it is difficult to find skilled workers in a nation where illiteracy is high.

The minister said the practice had been allowed to go unchecked.

“You find in some companies and NGOs it is 100 percent foreign,” he said. “That is why the citizens were complaining (about) not being employed when we have the capacity.”

The circular had stated without qualification: “NGOs, telecommunications companies, banks, insurance companies, oil companies, hotels and lodges must terminate the employment of all foreigners working with them.”

It said foreign workers should be notified that they would have to cease work from Oct. 15.

There are about 11 million people in South Sudan, and a vast number rely on subsistence farming or herding for their livelihood.

South Sudan has been mired in conflict between government forces and rebels since mid-December and aid agencies have been ramping up activities to try to stave off a famine that experts say is looming unless fighting stops and humanitarian work can continue without obstacles. reuters


Lesotho to hold early elections to break deadlock


Back to the Polls for Lesotho

Photo: ComSec

Observers at a polling station in Maseru Lesotho in 2012 (file photo).

Cape Town — Lesotho will hold early elections in a bid to end the nation’s political deadlock.

In a communique issued late Monday after a regional summit in Pretoria, Southern African heads of state said that the leaders of Lesotho’s coalition government “have agreed to bring forward the date of the elections from 2017 to [a] date to be agreed upon after consultations between the coalition leaders… and other political stakeholders.”

Since Lesotho’s last election in 2012, the country has been ruled by a three-party coalition which has excluded the party with the greatest number of seats in Parliament, the Democratic Congress of former prime minister Pakalitha Mosisili.

However, in recent months the coalition has been hit by disputes between Prime Minister Tom Thabane of the All Basotho Convention and Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing’s Lesotho Congress for Democracy.

In June Thabane suspended sittings of Parliament – apparently to avoid a vote of no confidence – and at the end of August the country’s military chief sent troops into the streets and briefly seized police facilities. Thabane fled to South Africa.

He returned 10 days later under South African protection, after regional powers and the coalition leaders had agreed that Parliament should be reconvened. However, the parties again deadlocked, with Thabane and the smallest coalition partner, the Basotho National Party, saying Parliament could not meet until there was proper control over the army.

Monday’s summit – attended by presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Ian Khama of Botswana and ministers from Namibia, Tanzania, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo – urged the coalition leaders to reconvene Parliament and to focus their efforts on preparing for early elections.

They authorized the deployment of a regional “Politics, Defence and Security observation mission” for three months “to ensure peace and stability within the defence and security establishments” in Lesotho.

They also appointed South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as a facilitator and said the coalition government would work with Ramaphosa “in addressing all political and security challenges in preparation for the brought-forward elections.” allAfrica

Zimbabwe and Russia agree massive platinum deal

The Herald/allAfrica

Photo: The Herald

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Mr Denis Manturov.

THE economy got a major boost yesterday following the signing of several trade and investment deals between the Government and the visiting high-powered Russian delegation in Harare, ahead of the commissioning of a $1 billion Integrated Platinum Group Metals Project in Darwendale today.

Highly-respected international diplomat, Russian foreign minister Mr Sergey Lavrov is expected in Harare this morning to commission the project which has been dubbed the biggest in Zimbabwe, and among the biggest mining ventures in the world.

The deals come hard on the heels of nine mega infrastructure deals signed between Zimbabwe and China during President Mugabe’s State visit to Beijing last month.

The deals, which feed into the infrastructure and utilities cluster of Zim-Asset, are expected to boost economic turnaround and spawn over 20 000 jobs.

Yesterday’s agreements were made during the First Session of the Zimbabwe-Russia Inter-Governmental Joint Commission on Economic, Trade, Scientific and Technical Co-operation co-chaired by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Mr Denis Manturov.

The Joint Commission was attended by several Cabinet ministers and Russian businesspersons with interests in mining, energy, agriculture, education and infrastructure development.

The Russian delegation, which arrived yesterday morning, is in Zimbabwe on a three-day official visit and will be joined by Mr Lavrov for the commissioning of the $1 billion Integrated Platinum Group Metals Project.

The project, expected to see the setting up of concentrators and a smelter, is a joint venture between the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and state-owned high tech corporation, Rostec and VB Bank.

This project is expected to significantly boost value-addition and beneficiation which are key pillars of Zim-Asset.

Minister Manturov said Russia was ready to assist Zimbabwe in different sectors, including offering expertise.

“I am happy that we have finalised (the deals). This will promote the launching of bilateral projects relating to mining development, energy, agriculture, communication and health,” he said.

“We should now actualise co-operation and open new prospects. It is really impressive that in such a short time we managed to come to the signing of various agreements during this inaugural session of the Inter-governmental commission. I believe there are vast opportunities and cooperation in various spheres, especially in mining.”

ZMDC acting general manager, Mr Wilson Chinzou, signed an MoU with OMZ senior vice president Mr Igor Molibog that will see the Russian firm providing mining equipment.

Minister Manturov said the Darwendale project would be one of the largest in the world, opening the route for more companies to enter the Zimbabwean market, as a “good legal base” had been created through the signing of the agreements.

“We believe that such a project will enable the supply of Russian equipment to Zimbabwe which will be needed to support this project. As the volumes of trade and exchange grow, we believe Zimbabwe will breed access for Russian supplies to other African markets.

“We know that there are a number of Russian investors in a number of spheres including agriculture and industry who are keen to enter the Zimbabwean market and we are studying various opportunities in the energy sector and a company is ready to enter Zimbabwe.”

Minister Mumbengegwi said it was high time relations between Harare and Moscow took an economic dimension.

He said the agreements signed with the Russians should turn around the Zimbabwean economy which has been battered by the West’s illegal economic sanctions regime.

“The sanctions targeted the vital sectors of the economy up to the extent of barring Zimbabwean natural resources on the international market,” he said.

“Our equipment is obsolete and needs urgent attention and it is our hope that what we are agreeing will see us fully realising our economic blueprint (Zim-Asset).”

Minister Mumbengegwi thanked Russia for standing by Zimbabwe during its “hard times.”

“The solidarity and support speeded up the process of the liberation struggle and in 2008, when western countries imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe, it was amazing that a group of countries declared a peaceful country to get sanctions. Had it not been for Russia exercising her veto power on that resolution, Zimbabwe would have been totally destroyed.”

Earlier on officials from Rosoboronexport–the sole state intermediary agency for Russia’s trade of defense-related products– met Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi and explored different areas of cooperation.

Minister Sekeramayi, who was accompanied by Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga and Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri, said Zimbabwe was looking “elsewhere” for the supply of weapons and spare parts following the imposition of illegal sanctions.

“They have been briefing us on what they have and we were also advising them on what we may need,” he said.

“As you know, our Defence Forces have been equipped largely with weaponry from Britain and other western countries and we are under sanctions from these countries and we cannot even buy spare parts from them and naturally we have to look elsewhere.” allAfrica

UN calls for $1bn to fight ebola in Africa


Ebola outbreak: UN calls for $1bn to fight virus

Liberian Red Cross health workers wearing protective suits arrive to carry a body of a victim of the Ebola virus on 12 September 2014 in a district of the capital, Monrovia

More than $1bn (£618m) is needed to fight the West Africa Ebola outbreak – a tenfold increase in the past month, the UN’s Ebola co-ordinator has said.

David Nabarro made the announcement as the World Health Organization (WHO) described the health crisis as “unparalleled in modern times”.

It has killed 2,461 people this year, half of the 4,985 infected by the virus, the global health body said.

There has been criticism of the slow international response to the epidemic.

Later, the US president is to announce plans to send 3,000 troops to Liberia, one of countries worst-affected by the outbreak, to help fight the virus.

It is understood the US military will oversee building new treatment centres and help train medical staff.

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) called on other countries to follow the US lead as the response to outbreak continued to fall “dangerously behind”.

The outbreak began in Guinea before spreading to its neighbours Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Nigeria and Senegal have reported some cases, but seem to have contained the transmission of the virus.

Infected ‘ turned away’

“We requested about $100m a month ago and now it is $1bn, so our ask has gone up 10 times in a month,” Mr Nabarro told a briefing in Geneva.

“Because of the way the outbreak is advancing, the level of surge we need to do is unprecedented, it is massive.”

Gloves and rubber boots forming part of the Ebola prevention gear for health workers drying in the sun in Monrovia, Liberia, on 8 September 2014. More than half the deaths from the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak have been in Liberia

At the briefing WHO deputy head Bruce Aylward announced the new Ebola case figures.

“Quite frankly, ladies and gentlemen, this health crisis we’re facing is unparalleled in modern times. We don’t know where the numbers are going on this,” he said.

When the WHO had said it needed the capacity to manage 20,000 cases two weeks ago “that seemed like a lot”, Dr Aylward said.

“That does not seem like a lot today,” he added.

At the same briefing, MSF president Joanne Liu said there needed to be “co-ordinated response, organised and executed under clear chain of command”.

Sick people in the Liberian capital were banging on the doors of MSF Ebola care centres desperate for a safe place in which to be isolated, she said.

“Tragically, our teams must turn them away; we simply do not have enough capacity for them,” Dr Liu said.

“Highly infectious people are forced to return home, only to infect others and continue the spread of this deadly virus. All for a lack of international response.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the WHO welcomed China’s pledge to send a mobile laboratory team to Sierra Leone, which will include epidemiologists, clinicians and nurses.

“The most urgent immediate need in the Ebola response is for more medical staff,” WHO head Margaret Chan said in the statement.


Ebola virus disease (EVD)

Ebola virus
  • Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
  • Spread by body fluids, such as blood and saliva
  • Fatality rate can reach 90% – but current outbreak has mortality rate of about 55%
  • Incubation period is two to 21 days
  • There is no proven vaccine or cure
  • Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
  • Fruit bats, a delicacy for some West Africans, are considered to be virus’s natural host


The Sudanese connection in African ivory poaching

African Arguments

Ivory, insurgency and crime in central Africa: the Sudans connection – By Keith Somerville

keith somervilleAt the beginning of August, the minutes of a meeting of intelligence chiefs from African states were released, revealing the extent to which poaching and the smuggling of ivory and rhino horn were being used to fund insurgent groups in South Sudan, Al Shabaab in Somalia and the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

A separate report – published in the 19 August volume of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – estimated that poachers have killed 100,000 elephants in Africa in the last three years.  The rate of killing has been in excess of 7% – even higher in Central Africa – while the average annual population increase is only 5%.  This suggests a process of attrition that could lead to the extinction of the elephant, including in South Sudan.

Ivory funds insurgency and militias

The African intelligence meeting minutes, reported by South Africa’s Mail and Guardian, said that poaching was a serious political/security problem as well as an environmental one and that there was “a great deal of evidence of fledgling linkages between poaching and wildlife trafficking…and transnational organised criminal activities, including terrorism and weapons proliferation”. They said that they had information that groups from South Sudan were benefiting from the poaching and trafficking of wildlife. The security chiefs recommended that the matter be treated as a transnational security concern.

They were less forthcoming about the role of African armed forces – including the Sudanese government-backed Janjaweed militias and the Ugandan army – in poaching and the smuggling of ivory.  Khartoum has traditionally been a route for ivory smuggling and the strong Chinese role in economic projects in Sudan increases its importance as a transit point for the illegal tusk trade.

Central Africa, where Sudanese poachers are active and help run the smuggling routes out of the continent, has a particularly high rate of killing of forest elephants. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Interpol estimate that the region’s scattered elephant populations declined by 64% between 2002 and 2011.

The Sudan connection

Not all the poaching can be attributed to insurgent groups, but in areas of central and east Africa they are playing a major role. There is evidence of links between the Janjaweed in Darfur and the LRA; and also highly-mobile Chadian groups opposed to the Deby government. The Arabic-speaking communities from which the Janjaweed have been drawn have traditionally been involved in cross-border trade within the region and there is evidence of them carrying out poaching raids as far west as Cameroon as well as in Chad and CAR, and of being a key link in the chain that gets the ivory out of Africa to Vietnam, China and other destinations in Asia.

One piece of evidence that links the Sudanese militias to poaching across neighbouring states is the ammunition retrieved by Maisha Consulting, a group assisting a number of states with anti-poaching measures. They have found ammunition that matches series and types held by the Sudanese army’s arsenal in Khartoum – the Sudanese military being the main sources of arms and ammunition for the Janjaweed.

The event that drew most attention to the role and interconnections of insurgent groups in poaching was the killing two years ago of up to 450 elephants in Bouba N’Djida National Park, northern Cameroon. Local wildlife officials blamed horse-borne poachers from the Janjaweed and allied Chadian groups.

The Sudanese militia, notorious for its role in the Darfur conflict, has also carried out extensive raiding in Chad. Its other role, as a buyer and smuggler of ivory poached by other groups, is said by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to involve trading weapons and ammunition for ivory with groups like the LRA, which enables them to survive as a military force.

The plethora of armed groups in Darfur, especially the pro-government militias, are blamed as well for regular and destructive raids into CAR’s Dzanga Sangha reserve and Chad’s Zakouma national park, where an estimated 3,000 elephants have been killed in three years. Large groups of heavily armed poachers on horseback from Darfur are blamed by the Chadian authorities for the poaching.

The Chadian government has now committed heavily armed military units to protect the park, less from a commitment to protect wildlife than to prevent ivory being used to fund Chadian rebels groups.

CITES and UNEP studies suggest that the elephant is extinct in Sudan, with the only populations to be found in South Sudan.

South Sudan’s elephants in crisis

The conflict in South Sudan is having a serious effect on the elephant populations there. In July 2013, the South Sudanese government and the World Conservation Society (WCS) launched a programme to protect the country’s remaining herds.  They had declined over the years of the second Sudanese civil war from in excess of 80,000 in the 1960s-70s to an estimated 5,000 in 2013. These last remaining elephants were under threat from poachers, many linked with South Sudanese armed groups, and the LRA. The WCS said at the launch of the programme that the future of the elephants was particularly endangered by the presence of rebel militias fighting the SPLA.

The Boma national park in Jonglei state has one of the most important savannah ecosystems in the region. Fighting in mid-2013 between government forces and the Murle rebel group led by David Yau Yau led to the destruction of park infrastructure, the killing of three wildlife rangers and the almost total disruption of conservation and wildlife protection programmes in the park and surrounding areas.

A report by Born Free USA and the US Centre for Defence Analysis suggested that the killing of park officials was carried out by the South Sudan armed forces (SPLA) sent to drive out Yau Yau’s fighters. The officials killed, including park warden Brigadier Kolo Pino, were all from the Murle community.

Earlier this year, in Lantoto National Park, in Central Equatoria state on the border with the DRC, at least six elephants were killed for their tusks. The park’s warden, Colonel Joseph Taban, reported that continuous poaching was being carried out by groups armed with machine guns. There was no clear evidence which groups – whether rebels or criminal gangs – were involved. Taban said the weapons being used were very different from the bows and arrows used by local people to poach for meat.

The park borders the Garamba National Park in DR Congo, where the LRA, the Ugandan army and the Janjaweed have all been suspected of engaging in poaching. Born Free USA has said that SPLA forces and former members of the army have also been heavily involved in poaching in Garamba.

The conflict between President Salva Kiir and forces loyal to Riek Machar, which began in December last year, has had devastating humanitarian consequences, with over 10,000 dead and nearly two million displaced. It is also having a serious environmental effect, and reducing the economic options, beyond oil, open to the country.  The possibilities of wildlife tourism are declining rapidly.

An advisor to the Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism, Lt-Gen Alfred Akuch Omoli, said recently that, “Since the start of this conflict we have noticed that poaching has become terrible. Rebels are poaching and the government forces are also poaching because they are all fighting in rural areas and the only available food they can get is wild meat”. Officials have also noted an increase in elephant poaching for their tusks, but avoided saying whether this was by rebel groups, local people or government forces.

The WCS’s deputy director for South Sudan said in June that a number of the elephants given radio collars under the protection programme launched in 2013 had been killed. The WCS warned in December 2012, a year before the start of the civil war that without a decline in poaching South Sudan’s elephants could disappear within five years.  The security, humanitarian and economic effects of the civil war could hasten their demise.

Keith Somerville is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, teaches journalism at the Centre for Journalism, University of Kent and edits Africa News and Analysis (

AU calls for synchronised security talks on Sudanese conflicts

Sudan Tribune

September 15, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AUPSC) has finally opted for separate, but synchronised discussions on security measures between the warring Sudanese parties before they can engage in the internal dialogue process.

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A general view of a meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (Photo courtesy of the African Union)

The Sudanese government and Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) agreed on the need for a comprehensive and inclusive process to reach peace and restore democracy in the country.

The government and rebel groups, however, diverged on how to proceed and where this political process was to be conducted.

While the government says the rebels should come and directly discuss ceasefire and security arrangements before joining the negotiating table with other stakeholders, the latter has demanded a humanitarian cessation of hostilities followed by separate negotiations abroad on the security arrangements and matters related to the war areas after which discussions on the new constitution can begin.

The AUPSC, in a resolution released on 15 September, following its 456 meeting acknowledged that the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and its chairman Thabo Mbeki will play the midwifery role of the national dialogue by brokering the security talks as well as an all parties conference in Addis Ababa to agree on a framework agreement for the political process.

“The negotiations on cessation of hostilities, immediately leading to a comprehensive security arrangements agreement, should resume at the earliest opportunity, under the auspices of the AUHIP and in collaboration and coordination with the JSR/JCM ‘Mohamed Ibn Chambas),” partly reads the AUPSC resolution.

“The negotiations on the cessation of hostilities for the Two Areas and for Darfur should be conducted in a synchronized manner,” it further added.

A rebel group, Sudan Liberation Movement – Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) warned last week that they would not accept a humanitarian cessation of hostilities, but requested that security measures be implemented to protect civilians in the war affected zones.

The Council, however, took in consideration a demand by the rebel and opposition parties on the need for a preparatory meeting to fix the rules of the national dialogue and agree on how to implement its outcome.

“A meeting of the Sudanese parties to discuss relevant process issues, in order to pave the way for the National Dialogue should be held at the AU Headquarters under the facilitation of the AUHIP,” decided the AUPSC.

The regional peace and security body emphasised the need to establish a conducive environment for the national dialogue and urged the Khartoum government to implement confidence-building measures.

Among these measures, the 15-member council mentions the release of all political detainees and prisoners, enacting the necessary legislations to ensure political freedoms and the freedom of expression and publication, and ensuring that the judiciary will be the only institution to adjudicate such matters.

But before any engagement in the internal process and in line with the AUPSC decision, the government has been requested to provide the “necessary guarantees for the armed groups freely to participate in the national dialogue, once the comprehensive ceasefire and security arrangements agreements have been concluded”.

Khartoum also has to facilitate humanitarian assistance to all populations in war-affected areas.


The African body called on the international community to provide “economic support package to Sudan, including expediting debt relief and extending concessionary loans”.

It also appealed to the United States and the European Union to lift the economic sanctions imposed on Sudan “ in order to contribute positively towards the creation of enabling conditions for the success of the national dialogue”.

Some EU countries consider the lift of economic sanctions imposed on Sudan and debt relief as they follow closely the ongoing efforts to hold the political process and to ensure effective implementation of its outcome.

On 9 August, the American acting chargé d’affaires David Kaeupur met with Sudanese presidential assistant Ibrahim Ghandour to hand over a message from US special envoy Donald Booth on the national dialogue.

Booth, in his message, expressed his government’s support to the internal process and encouraged Khartoum to create the necessary conditions for a genuine, holistic and inclusive dialogue.


South Africa seizes nine million dollars linked to Nigerian arms purchase


South Africa: Seized U.S. 9.3 Million Linked to Arms Invoice

Photo: Leadership

U.S. dollars

Johannesburg — An invoice for helicopters and armaments intended to be used in Nigeria could indicate why an Israeli citizen was bringing U.S. $9.3 million (about R102 million) into South Africa, the National Prosecuting Authority said on Monday.

“The case relates to cash which was brought into the country on a flight from Nigeria to Lanseria Airport on September 5, 2014,” spokesman Nathi Mncube said in a statement.

Two black plastic suitcases, filled with 90 blocks each containing US100,000 in notes, with combination locks, were seized, as well as two pieces of hand luggage also containing US currency.

Israeli national Eyal Mesika had the combination to open the locks.

The SA Revenue Service seized the money initially, as it was not disclosed at customs, Mncube said.

The crimes against the state unit of the Hawks took up the investigation, and uncovered an invoice from Tier One Services, a subsidiary of the Tier One Services Group Limited, to Cyprus-based company ESD International Group Ltd.

According to its website, the Teir One Services Group “provides aviation, logistics, security, risk management support and specialised training services to organisations and individuals operating in austere and challenging environments”.

It has offices across the Middle East and Africa.

The invoice from Tier One to ESD was for armaments and helicopters, Mncube said.

“In court papers, the NPA submitted evidence that Tier One is not registered with the National Conventional Arms Control Committee and is thus not authorised to enter into any agreements regarding the sale and/or rental of military equipment.”

The agreement between Tier One and ESD was concluded on September 8, three days after the money was seized at Lanseria.

On Friday the NPA’s asset forfeiture unit was granted an order in the High Court in Pretoria for the freezing of the cash recovered at the airport.

“The NPA… submitted to the court that, although various explanations about the money were given to the investigating officer, these explanations were flawed and riddled with discrepancies.

“The order was granted in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, which provides that property that is used to commit a crime can be frozen while the NPA applies for a final order to forfeit the money to the state.”

Mncube said the money was being kept safe by the SA Reserve Bank.

The Hawks could not immediately be reached for comment.

On Sunday, Rapport newspaper reported that the money was confiscated from two Nigerians and an Israeli, reportedly acting on behalf of the Nigerian intelligence service, which could not be confirmed by the country’s authorities.

The group also reportedly had documents confirming they were in South Africa to buy arms. allAfrica