Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Arms dealers revel in Somali war business

Arms dealers revel in Somali war business

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Sitting on a mat at home between taking orders for arms on his two mobile phones, Osman Bare gives thanks for the riches flowing from Somalia's war.
"I have only been in the weapon business five years, but I have erected three villas. I have also opened shops for my two wives," said the 40-year-old, one of about 400 Somali men operating in Mogadishu's main weapons market.

"Peace means bankruptcy for us."

Despite a U.N. arms embargo on Somalia, the Horn of Africa nation is awash with weaponry from all over the world that has fueled one of Africa's longest-running conflicts.
In the latest cycle of civil war, militant Islamists have been fighting the Somali government for the last two years and 18,000 civilians have been killed in the crossfire.
Weapons are captured, sold and recycled constantly between both sides, experts say. Many arms have come from Ethiopian soldiers who intervened in Somalia between 2006 and early 2009.
African Union peacekeepers have been accused of trafficking arms, and regional bodies say Eritrea -- among others -- is funneling weapons toward the rebels.
Weapons are also said to pour across the porous borders of Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia, arriving by plane and through seas infested by pirates who are themselves armed to the teeth.
The Mogadishu arms market is just one part of an illicit global arms bazaar. Read Article...

FACTBOX: Prices of arms in Mogadishu market

(Reuters) - In Mogadishu, prices of guns and ammunition have fallen in recent months due to plentiful supplies from Eritrea and Uganda and the weapons Ethiopian troops left behind when they withdrew, arms dealers say.

Here is a price list for some popular weapons:


120 mm - $700 ($55 per mortar bomb)

82 mm - $300 ($25 per bomb)

60 mm - $200 ($18 per bomb)

Anti-aircraft guns (truck mounted)

23 mm - $20,000 ($2.50 per round)
37 mm version also available, but there is currently no ammunition in stock. Other, smaller variants are available for between $4,000 and $5,000, with their rounds quoted at $1 each.
Anti-tank weapons cost $5,000, while a rocket-propelled grenade launcher is quoted at $200, plus $150 per grenade.

A new pistol from Yemen is $650, a second-hand one from Russia is $400 and a new American pistol is $700.
A new Belgian pistol is $500 and a new Russian one is $1,000. Rounds cost between $1.50 and $3 each.

An Indian-made AK-47 costs $140. Better quality versions from North Korea cost $600 and the Russian original costs $400.
Hand-grenades go for $25 each, landmines $100.
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