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U.N. to Monitor Somalia Arms Embargo

August 29, 2002

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ The United Nations has named a panel to investigate violations of a widely ignored arms embargo on Somalia, where guns are sold openly in markets and clan warfare has divided the country.

The United Nations imposed the embargo in 1992, but continuing instability has kept the world body from opening an office in the capital and hindered efforts to enforce the ban.

U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said Wednesday the panel of experts will be based in Nairobi, Kenya.

The three members appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan are aviation engineer Mohamed Abdoulaye M’Backe, a consultant to Senegal’s civil aviation authority; Brynjulf Mugaas of Norway, the deputy director of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ U.N. observer mission; and Ernst Jan Hogendoorn, a research assistant at Princeton University’s program on science and global security.

Somalia has been without an effective government since opposition leaders united to oust dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. The opposition leaders then fought with each other, turning the nation of 7 million into battling fiefdoms ruled by clan-based factions.

A transitional government led by President Abdiqasim Salad Hassan was elected at a peace conference in neighboring Djibouti in August 2000. But it has little influence outside the capital, Mogadishu, and faces opposition from a number of faction leaders.