The Democratic Republic of Congo’s government called recent claims that North Korea had provided their police with weapons an “outright lie” in a statement issued over the weekend.
The refutation came after Reuters last week published an article on the findings of a UN Panel of Experts (PoE) on the DR Congo. The PoE report said that North Korea had provided Congolese police and soldiers with equipment and 30 instructors to train special forces and the presidential guard.
“There hasn’t been any cooperation with North Korea since the (2001) death of (Laurent) Kabila,” government spokesman Lambert Mende said in comments carried by AFP. Former President Kabila is the father of the DR Congo’s current President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the country since his father’s assassination.
The PoE report claimed the pistols were delivered from North Korea via the Congolese port of Matadi two years ago, and that the same type of pistol was also available to buy on the black market in the country.
The PoE “found that pistols with characteristics similar to those produced in DPRK were issued to certain members of the FARDC (armed forces), as well as to Congolese national police,” the report said.
The current UN sanctions against North Korea prohibit the export of weapons and military training, though this has not stopped similar cases from arising in the past.
In 2013, an NK News investigation found North Korean involvement with Uganda’s security sector. At least 65 Ugandan marine police officers trained for six months under North Korean instructors, and North Korean minister inspected the Ugandan police force.
The North Korean Panel of Experts in their most recent report said that they had communicated with Uganda on the issue of ongoing training. In the annexes of the report, Uganda’s representative at the UN Richard Nduhuura replied to the panel’s communications saying the training does not breach sanctions, as the measures only apply to training with North Korean equipment.
“Prohibited training and provision of technical advice is only limited to arms and equipment procured from DPRK,” the letter reads.
“Uganda’s understating is therefore that the cooperation agreement for training of the police, and occasionally extended to the military does not violate Security Council resolutions on DPRK.”