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Indonesian Unamid police deny smuggling arms from Darfur

January 24 - 2017 EL FASHER / JAKARTA
Members of the Indonesian Formed Police Unit, deployed in Kutum by Unamid, unload material from an helicopter in August 2012 (Albert Gonzalez Farran/Unamid)
Members of the Indonesian Formed Police Unit, deployed in Kutum by Unamid, unload material from an helicopter in August 2012 (Albert Gonzalez Farran/Unamid)

Indonesia's National Police has denied reports that an Indonesian police unit, which served for one year under Unamid, allegedly attempted to smuggle a large number of weapons and ammunition when they were about to return to Indonesia.

The unit was detained by the North Darfur administration on Saturday. El Fasher Airport security seized a large number of weapons and ammunition, allegedly found in the luggage of the Indonesian Formed Police Unit (FPU). The unit denied ownership of the cache.

Unamid Deputy Joint Special Representative, Nyamane Kingsley Mamabolo has announced the immediate start of an investigation into the seizure of weapons, ammunition and soil samples that were discovered in the luggage and containers of the Indonesian police force.

Mamabola told Sudanese journalists after meeting with the Undersecretary of Sudan's Foreign Ministry on Sunday that they will raise their report on the results of the investigation, stressing that the mission fully rejects such conduct.

The Indonesian government insists that the allegations levelled at the police officers are marred with inconsistencies. “With regard to the case in Sudan, we have information on the incident, [and] there are a number of inconsistencies in the details we received early on,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said on Monday.

“The initial information we received was that the luggage did not belong to the Indonesian police unit.” The former Unamid police unit, which usually holds up to 140 personnel, are now being held in Sudan, according to Indonesian newspapers.

The outgoing group had left with two containers full of luggage, which had already been checked before being packed, said Indonesian National Police spokesman Sr. Com. Martinus Sitompul.

Rifles and handguns

According to the Sudanese Media Centre, various weapons and ammunition were unearthed during a search by local authorities, including Kalashnikov rifles, GM3 rifles and other handguns, as well as large quantities of ammunition.

The Jakarta Post quoted a chief of the police unit saying that several items did not belong to the Indonesian group and did not bear the marking sticker to signify ownership.

According to the UN, the peacekeeping mission in war-torn Sudan comprises 19,248 police and military personnel from various countries. This number includes 1,583 police personnel and 13 formed police unit of up to 140 personnel each, which the Indonesian police unit is referred to.

(Source: Radio Dabanga, The Jakarta Post)

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