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Burkina Faso Arms Inquiry Urged

Weapons Transferred Illegally to Rebels in Sierra Leone, Angola

(New York) - The president of Burkina Faso should order an independent inquiry into serious charges that his country has facilitated illegal arms transfers to rebel forces in Sierra Leone and Angola, Human Rights Watch said today.

A March 15 United Nations report on embargo-busting in Angola names Burkina Faso in connection with violations of U.N. Security Council sanctions against UNITA rebels in Angola.  

"Reports suggest that Burkina Faso has failed to uphold international arms embargoes imposed on human rights abusers in Angola and Sierra Leone," stated Joost Hiltermann, Executive Director of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch. "President Compaore must get to the bottom of these serious allegations."  

The RUF rebels have been responsible for widespread atrocities, and have continued to commit serious human rights abuses since signing a peace accord in July 1999. The UNITA rebels in Angola have been responsible for gross human rights abuses and systematic violations of international humanitarian law.

"Burkina Faso must not allow human rights abusers to receive more weapons with which to terrorize civilians," Hiltermann said.

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