British dept accused of sending weapons to Somali pirates
London, Jan. 5 (ANI): The British Government is taking an urgent review over why nearly 44,000 guns in only 15 months were sent to tackle piracy in East Africa and a number of other repressive regimes.
MPs have accused the Business Department of a potential security risk, by approving the exports of these weapons without checking why British security firms needed so many assault rifles and pistols in countries with poor human rights records, such as Sri Lanka, Egypt and the Maldives.
According to the Independent, the weapons are supposed to be used by the security firms for services such as protecting ships from Somali pirates.
The huge volume of weapons were authorised for exports between April 2012 and June 2013.
The move has raised fears among members of the House of Commons Arms Export Controls Committee that the guns could have ended up in the hands of the pirates, the report said.
According to the report, government data shows that the arms exports comprised 30,000 assault rifles, 2,536 pistols and 11,000 rifles, and the countries they ended up in also include Russia and South Africa.
Sources on the committee said that they want to know why British firms would need such a large stash of fresh guns, given that they will have had thousands of weapons in their armoury prior to April 2012, the report added. (ANI)