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Exposed secret Chinese arms trade in Africa may rubbish MoUs, OBOR, others—Report
EXX Africa (https://www.EXXAfrica.com) recently published a special report on the secret Chinese arms trade in the Horn of Africa to the surprise of numerous African nations including Nigeria, trooping to China for one loan, tie or bilateral relations or the other (download the report: http://bit.ly/2PvgfDy).
Since the beginning of the current administration in Nigeria, findings show that no other developed nation has partnered with the government more than China. Currently, a delegation of federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari and even other African nations are currently in Beijing on the Forum of China and African Countries (FOCAC).
A statement issued by the presidency ahead of the China trip revealed that well over 25 memoranda of Understanding will be sealed including a $328m support deal on ICT.
Though China has not been clearly linked to supply of arms to warring nations of Africa or cases of insurgency, Fulani herdsmen killings or banditry in parts of the country, sketchy details of the origin of the recent seized arm-laden ship in South Africa heading to Lagos are yet to suggest that China in involved.
Otherwise, beyond the commercial objective of increasing sales of Chinese manufactured weapons and military equipment, China seems to seek a strategic control of the greater share of the weapons trade in Africa in order to protect its extensive infrastructure investments on the continent. On the back of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, China has made massive investments in East Africa, including railway lines, hydropower dams, and new port projects in countries such as Kenya, Sudan, and Ethiopia.
Central to this strategy is China’s military logistics base in Djibouti, which China is preparing to facilitate large-scale shipments of weapons and military equipment to African countries, in particular Sudan and South Sudan.
Djibouti’s own strategically important port, which lies in a major shipping lane, is also set to move towards the centre of the regional arms trade.
Following a new investigation that included collection of intelligence from well-placed security sector sources in the Horn of Africa, we have found evidence that Chinese weapons are making their way from the Chinese PLA Support Base in Djibouti and the commercial Port of Djibouti towards African conflict zones that have been placed under an arms embargo.