Sunday, June 19, 2011

SA sniper rifles in Libya

19 June, 2011 

South African-made sniper rifles have found their way into the hands of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces.

A video seen by the newspaper shows rebel fighters displaying the rifles after they were taken from pro-Gaddafi troops according to Sunday's Rapport newspaper.

The rifles have "seven or eight highly unique characteristics" that prove they came from Truvelo Manufacturers in Midrand, Gauteng, according to Tom Wolmarans, a former police officer who used to work for the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague.

According to the paper other weapons and forensic experts agreed with this opinion.

Truvelo's director Ralf Gebert refused to comment on the company's transactions with Libya.

"There are procedures in South Africa we are following. We adhere to the rules and regulations and that's that. We are not prepared to say yes or no," he was quoted as saying.

According to international news reports Gaddafi's forces have been using sniper rifles to shoot civilians during pro-democracy protests and at funerals.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe earlier this month refused to say whether the R68.9 million worth of arms South Africa sold to Libya last year included sniper rifles.

The DA said it would hand a copy of the video to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, who was considering the party's request to investigate the matter.

The party had previously alleged that more than 100 sniper rifles and 50,000 rounds of ammunition had been sold to Libya, a transaction authorised by the National Conventional Arms Control Committee.

"We cannot sit back and allow South Africa to become an armoury for dictators around the world," DA shadow minister of defence and military veterans David Maynier said in a statement.

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