South African Justice Ministry Answers Question About Arms Shipments to Guinea in September 2008


Written by Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Development Tuesday, 11 May 2010 12:21

Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Development

National Assembly

Questions for Written Reply


Mr D J Maynier (DA) to ask the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development:
(1) With reference to the 2008 annual report of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee, (a) what is the (i) type, (ii) quantity and (iii) total value of the conventional weapons samples exported to Guinea, (b) what was the (i) purpose and (ii)(aa) date of export and (bb) date of import of the conventional weapons samples, (c) what is the name of the person who authorised the deal and (d) on what date(s) was the deal (i) authorised and (ii) ratified;
(2) whether it is the Government’s policy to export samples of conventional weapons to countries with military governments; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details? NW1282E


The samples exported to Guinea in 2008 were 5 x Bullet Proof Vest samples and 10 x Ceramic Plate samples, free of charge for test purposes. The permit was approved by the NCACC and issued for export in September 2008. In Approving exports for conventional arms, the NCACC is guided by the provisions of the National Conventional Arms Control Act as well as guiding principles and criteria as contemplated in the Act.


South Africa and Guinea Among “Richest” Countries in Terms of Mineral Reserves

SA ‘richest’ country in the world
2010/04/28 07:23:00 AM

Johannesburg – South Africa is the world’s richest country in terms of its mineral reserves – worth $2.5 trillion – according to research by the American banking group Citigroup, reports Bloomberg.

The Citigroup report, which was compiled by its mining analyst Craig Sainsbury, says that Russia comes second after South Africa, and Australia third.

The research states that South Africa, Guinea, the Ukraine, India and Kazakhstan all have mineral reserves unrelated to energy worth more than $200bn.

Mines in these countries also all have average life spans of more than 100 years at current rates of exploitation.

Countries like Guinea and Kazakhstan with high resource values but limited mining activity could see greater demand from the world’s biggest mining companies and foreign wealth funds, the report continues.

Sainsbury says Chinese mines have an average 17-year life of mine, according to surveys by the US Geological Survey system.

According to Bloomberg, Sainsbury says it’s no wonder that China continues to invest massively in metals and mining.

He says China is expected to continue investing in copper and iron ore, together with energy resources like coal and uranium.

Of South Africa’s $2 500bn worth of reserves, $2 300bn resides in the platinum group metals.

Russia’s iron ore reserves are valued at $794bn – more than the Australian iron ore reserves, which are estimated to be worth $737bn.

Iron ore reserves in the Ukraine, according to Sainsbury, are worth $510bn, and Guinea has bauxite (aluminium ore) worth $222bn.

In dollar values Guinea, South Africa, India, the Ukraine and Kazakhstan are the countries that under-produce the most in terms of their reserves, says Sainsbury.

India will need to increase its domestic production rates, especially in light of its economic upturn. But bureaucracy and national protectionism will probably scare off any foreign investors, the report declares.


German Military Cooperation with African Countries Yields Mixed Results

Many African soldiers have been trained by the German Armed Forces, but the military training assistance program is under scrutiny. In recent years, German-trained soldiers staged a coup and shot at civilians in Guinea.

Germany | 21.03.2010
German military cooperation with African countries yields mixed results

Many African soldiers have been trained by the German Armed Forces, but the military training assistance program is under scrutiny. In recent years, German-trained soldiers staged a coup and shot at civilians in Guinea.

Over the last decade, Germany’s military cooperation with African countries has been organized and implemented by the Foreign and Defense Ministries. In fact, the military training assistance program has trained defense personnel from 28 African countries and over 1,200 experts.

Defence Spokesman Thomas Silberhorn  of the Christian Social Union says the military training strenghtens bilateral relations. 

“The military training assistance aims at strengthening relationships with other countries and thereby also teach democratic ideals. That is a good thing. It is military training, but from the basis of what we have in Germany,” he told Deutsche Welle.

Military cooperation with South Africa

South Africa is one of the countries benefitting from military cooperation and assistance from Germany. Captain Lisa Hendricks, South African Defense Attache to Germany, told Deutsche Welle that “the training provided by Germany has been invaluable to the South African Defence Forces.”Images of South African Navy and German Navy exercises. Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:  South African Navy and the German Navy carry out exercises

Germany and South Africa have been involved in military cooperation for almost 19 years. As part of the ongoing cooperation between the two nations, the South African Air Force, South African Navy, and the German Navy and German Air Force recently carried out the fourth installment of Exercise Good Hope (Exercise Good Hope IV).

According to the German Information Center Pretoria, Exercise Good Hope IV, which was held around Cape Town, included live missile and gun firings, anti-submarine warfare, anti-aircraft drills, fleet work and maneuvering. The exercises were the largest undertaken by the German Task Force Group outside of its NATO obligations.

When it all goes wrong

But military cooperation does not always yield the desired results. The example of Guinea in West Africa shows that the ideals of democracy and rule of law are not always successfully transmitted. In September 2009, German-trained paratroopers gained notoriety when they shot at peaceful demonstrators.

And in December 2008, Moussa Dadis Camara overthrew the government in what is sometimes called the “German Coup.” His trademark was a red beret with a bronze eagle – the symbol for German paratroopers. Camara’s rule only lasted until December 3, 2009, when there was an assassination attempt on his life. He was then replaced by his Vice President, Sekouba Konate (a French-trained paratrooper).

Unlike his position as President of Guinea, Camara acquired his beret legitimately during his four-year training with the German Armed Forces. Like him, many other rebels were trained in Germany; including Finance Minister Mamdou Sande and Security Minister Mamadouba Camara.

Image of Guinean junta leader, Moussa Dadis Camara, in a German paramilitary beretBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:  Guinean junta leader, Moussa Dadis Camara, in a German paramilitary beretAs a result of the series of unfortunate events involving German-trained officers, Germany has ended its cooperation with Guinea. The last soldiers will leave Germany in February 2011.

Thomas Silberhorn said that the right decision had been made vis-a-vis Guinea. He supports training assistance in principle, but only as an instrument of democratization.

“The military training assistance should not contradict its goal of teaching democratic ideals,” he said.

Lack of transparency

Most of the criticism regarding military cooperation has to do with the lack of transparency of these programs: what is being taught and what does Germany stand to gain?

In the case of South Africa, the country has purchased all its warships and submarines from Germany in the last 10 years. Also, German defence personnel have had the opportunity to fire live missiles during exercises in South Africa – something they cannot do in their own country.

But no one at the German Foreign Ministry and Defence Ministry will comment on what qualifies an army to be a cooperation partner. So, even the armies of Ethiopia, Nigeria, and the Niger, which according to Amnesty International’s Mathias John commit human rights violations, receive training assistance.

“A general statement from the German administration that it is improving human rights worldwide is not enough. Armed forces, security forces reform, justice and police reform are very important in many countries,” he said.

“There is a whole range of countries, where we don’t know exactly what can happen in the future, where the soldiers always continue to commit human rights violations. So we ask ourselves on which criteria the federal government decides which training assistance to accomplish and to what extent the focus should be on human rights,” he added.

Author: Martin Heidelberger (cc)
Editor:  Rob Mudge

AMNESTY INT’L.: Guinea Massacre – South Africa, France Provided Arms, Security Equipment to Junta Forces

September 28, 2009, Conakry, Guinea


Guinea: Reform of security forces must deliver justice for Bloody Monday massacre

24 February 2010

Amnesty International today warned that Guinea risks a new era of human rights violations if urgent reforms of the security forces do not take place and the perpetrators of last year’s massacre continue to escape justice.

In a new report examining the “Bloody Monday” massacre on 28 September 2009 and its aftermath, Amnesty International outlines a series of reforms for Guinea’s security forces to ensure human rights are upheld in the West African country.

Guinea security forces killed more than 150 people and raped over 40 women during and following the protests. More than 1,500 people were wounded and many people went missing or were detained.

At least two senior military officers named by the United Nations as potentially having individual criminal responsibility for events constituting crimes against humanity, remain in positions of influence in the Guinean Presidential Cabinet, despite the formation of a new transitional government.

The report documents extrajudicial executions, torture and other ill-treatment, rape, sexual slavery and arbitrary detention carried out by particular units of Guinea’s armed forces – the gendarmerie – and police. It reveals how weapons and security equipment supplied from South Africa, France and elsewhere provided the tools for the crimes perpetrated on 28 September 2009.

“Instead of facing justice for these crimes, the perpetrators of the Bloody Monday massacre remain in positions of authority, protected from prosecution,” said Gaëtan Mootoo of Amnesty International.

“Reform of the security forces based on international human rights standards is urgently needed to avoid a repeat of the horrific events of last September. This has to be accompanied by justice for those responsible for the Bloody Monday massacre.” said Gaëtan Mootoo.

Recent military assistance and training provided by China, France and other countries to Guinean military and security units responsible for ‘Bloody Monday’ is disclosed in the report. This assistance was provided without adequate human rights safeguards, and despite these units’ decade-long history of human rights violations.

Any future reforms of the Guinea security forces must establish respect for international human rights and humanitarian law, and must not permit impunity for security force members responsible for serious human rights violations. The international community should only assist in reforms if they are consistent with international law and standards.

The French government announced on 16 February 2010 that it intends to resume military cooperation with Guinea. Any cooperation that involves technical assistance or training relating to military or security equipment, as it has done in the recent past, may contravene the current European Union arms embargo on Guinea.

Amnesty International’s report details France’s wide-ranging programme of assistance to Guinea’s security forces. It raises serious concerns about a new programme of public order training assistance for the military junta’s major expansion of gendarmerie internal security units that began in 2009.

The authorization of exports of tear gas and anti-riot weapons issued between 2004 and 2008, which have not been published or made known to the French parliament, is also highlighted.

“In the past, some governments providing military assistance have seemed more intent on protecting their interests with the Guinean authorities than protecting the human rights of the Guinean people. Any future assistance must be founded on international human right standards” said Gaëtan Mootoo.

Evidence of private companies and individuals based in Israel, United Arab Emirates and South Africa that were contracted to provide private military and security services to the Guinean government during 2009 is also highlighted.

These companies and individuals denied unlawful activity, and refused to confirm to Amnesty International the nature of their security activities in Guinea.

Evidence obtained by Amnesty International identifies some of these individuals in locations where a new youth militia, reportedly including children under 18 years of age, has been trained by foreign and Guinean trainers during late 2009. The report includes the first eye-witness accounts of this militia training programme.


On Monday 28 September 2009, Guinean security forces inflicted excessive force, acts of violence, including sexual violence, and other gross violations of human rights against unarmed supporters of civil society organisations and political parties peacefully protesting at Conakry’s ‘Stade du 28 September’.

The protests, organised by a group of political parties known as the Forces Vives, were against the head of state, Dadis Camara’s decision to stand in the forthcoming presidential elections.

The majority of these gross human rights violations were carried out by members of the ‘Presidential Guard’ and other parts of the Guinean army’s commando regiment,   as well as by gendarmerie units and militiamen in civilian clothing, with alleged approval from the Guinean authorities. Acts of violence, albeit on a smaller scale, continued in the days following the protest, which plunged the capital Conakry into a state of fear.

Since 2004, arms or training have been provided to Guinea’s security forces from China, France, Germany, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa and the USA. Amnesty International is campaigning for an international Arms Trade Treaty to establish a legally binding standard that states will not authorise international transfers of arms or associated training if there is a serious risk that they will contribute to serious violations of international human rights or humanitarian law.

On 19 February 2010, the deputy prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, said at the end of a three-day visit to Guinea that crimes against humanity were committed during Bloody Monday and its aftermath and that the ICC should continue with its preliminary investigation.

GUINEA: South Africa’s “Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act” and Junta’s Mercenaries

Thought Leader » Michael Trapido »

Are SA mercenaries assisting Guinea’s military junta?

Following is an excerpt from the above article:

South Africa’s “Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act”

In terms thereof the relevant sections are :

Definitions :

(iii) ‘‘foreign military assistance’’ means military services or military-related
services, or any attempt, encouragement, incitement or solicitation to render
such services, in the form of—
(a) military assistance to a party to the armed conflict by means of—
(i) advice or training;
(ii) personnel, financial, logistical, intelligence or operational support;
(iii) personnel recruitment;
(iv) medical or para-medical services; or
(v) procurement of equipment;
(b) security services for the protection of individuals involved in armed
conflict or their property;
(c) any action aimed at overthrowing a government or undermining the
constitutional order, sovereignty or territorial integrity of a state;
(d) any other action that has the result of furthering the military interests of
a party to the armed conflict,

3. No person may within the Republic or elsewhere—
(a) offer to render any foreign military assistance to any state or organ of state,
group of persons or other entity or person unless he or she has been granted
authorisation to offer such assistance in terms of section 4;
(b) render any foreign military assistance to any state or organ of state, group of
persons or other entity or person unless such assistance is rendered in
accordance with an agreement approved in terms of section 5.

8. (1) Any person who contravenes any provision of section 2 or 3, or fails to comply
with a condition with regard to any authorisation or approval granted in terms of section
4 or 5, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment
or to both such fine and imprisonment.
(2) The court convicting any person of an offence under this Act may declare any
armament, weapon, vehicle, uniform, equipment or other property or object in respect of
which the offence was committed or which was used for, or in connection with the
commission of the offence, to be forfeited to the state.

Accordingly if South Africans have been training foreign military without authorisation as set out in sections 4 and 5 of the act then they have committed an offence in terms of the act and are liable to punishment in terms of Section 8 thereof.

In terms of the definition set out in iii above it would appear that any South African found with the junta’s military would have an extremely difficult time explaining the reason for his being there. The act is clear; you cannot render foreign military assistance inside or outside the republic without permission.

Is the “Wonga” Running Out for Africa Mercenaries?

10:16 November 24th, 2009
Is the “wonga” running out for Africa’s mercenaries?

Posted by: David Lewis
Tags: Africa Blog, “dogs of war”, Camara, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, junta, mercenaries, Simon Mann

Africa’s infamous “dogs of war” may still be going strong, but it seems the rewards of the mercenary life aren’t quite what they used to be. 

Only this month, Britain’s Simon Mann won a pardon for his part in a foiled 2004 coup attempt on Equatorial Guinea, an old-style adventure whose glittering prize was the central African state’s multi-billion-dollar oil riches.

Contrast that to reports last week that a band of South African and other mercenaries had flown into the chaos of Guinea to train up a militia loyal to the incumbent junta leader — on a salary put at barely $3,500 a month.

That’s not bad money in most parts of the world, and there were reports that the company involved would have won extra remuneration in the form of minerals from Guinea’s fecund soil.

But it would have been peanuts to Mann, whose Equatorial Guinea coup was known as the “Wonga Plot” after the English slang for the money they hoped to yield in buckets.

While mercenaries are often seen as in the business of bringing governments down, it is not new that they should be trying to prop one up, as is happening in Guinea.

Mann himself is reported to have worked for the Angolan government in the 1990s to help it wrest back control of a key port from rebels, and again for Sierra Leonean authorities in the 2002 civil war there.

But what has changed since then is the economics. Thanks to the steady flow of new oil and mineral finds on the continent, the private security business in Africa is booming. A lot of the real pros now find there is steady money to made in guarding a gold mine in northern Congo, for example.

The more dubious end of the business is now increasingly the preserve of what some describe as cowboys.

“They couldn’t get enough people to do the job,” Henri Boshoff, a military analyst who served in the South African army, told Reuters of the mercenaries hired by Guinean junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara. “(The South Africans) were very desperate. They are not being very well paid.”

The Guinea mercenaries may not be in the same league as Mann and his fellow Wonga plotters, but their capacity to stir up trouble should not be underestimated.

The fact that Camara’s militia is being selected on tribal lines could add an alarming new ethnic dimension to Guinea’s instability.

Security sources also told Reuters that part of their job is to ensure the arrival of arms acquired by the junta in Ukraine in direct contravention of an international arms embargo.

South Africa is keen to get rid of its reputation as a training ground for hired guns and is officially investigating the activities of its nationals in Guinea.

Depending on what it finds, it may have to decide whether they are in breach of its
three-year-old anti-mercenary law that still contains grey areas as to what is mercenary behaviour.

Is it time for a more concerted effort by governments to end the days of Africa’s dogs of war? Or will the wonga run out by itself?


GUINEA – US Diplomat: Some of Us Have Seen South Africans Outside Camp

In addition to the article below, if you double-click on the title, it will take you to a BBC audio interview with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, William Fitzgerald.


US backs Guinea mercenary claims


The US says it has evidence that South African mercenaries are training supporters of Guinea’s military junta.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa William Fitzgerald told the BBC mercenaries had been seen at a camp south of the Guinean capital, Conakry.

South African officials have already promised to investigate the reports which have been in the French media.

Guinea’s junta has been fiercely criticised for a deadly crackdown on opposition supporters in September.

 Human rights groups say more than 150 people were killed when troops fired on an anti-government protest and many women were systematically raped.

Guinean officials say 57 people died and that most were trampled to death.

The demonstration was called in protest at rumours that Capt Moussa Dadis Camara, who seized power last December, planned to run for president next year despite a promise not to do so.

Dubai connection?

Mr Fitzgerald said he agreed with reports that Capt Camara was trying to shore up his position by recruiting mercenaries.

“Some of us have seen the South Africans who are up at a camp called Forecariah south of the city – so yes that is a cause for concern,” he said.

“I believe that they are military trainers.”

South Africa’s director general of International Relations Ayanda Ntsaluba earlier said the mercenary allegations were being taken seriously.

“The allegation is that there is a group of South Africans, mercenaries who are training militia largely recruited on an ethnic basis, supporters of the current military youth,” he said.

He indicated that the information pointed to companies operating through Dubai.

It also seemed to point to a “strong South African connection”, he said, but other South African officials were being cautious about the leads.

South Africa has strict laws forbidding mercenary activities.

Last month, the UN created a tribunal to investigate the killings in Guinea’s capital Conakry on 28 September.

The US and the African Union have imposed sanctions against Capt Camara and 41 members of his junta.

Former colonial power France and West African countries have imposed an arms embargo, while the EU has called for Capt Camara to be put on trial for crimes against humanity.

Story from BBC NEWS: