Sudan receives new shipment of Russian fighter jets

By Wasil Ali

July 20, 2008 (WASHINGTON) - A shipment of new Russian MIG-29 tactical fighters has recently arrived into Sudan from Belarus, a source familiar with the matter told Sudan Tribune today.

The source who spoke on condition of anonymity said that a dozen MIG-29 combat fighters were shipped discreetly by planes through a Belarusian company two weeks ago.

However he could not confirm whether the fighters were actually sold by Belarus or they simply came through the East European country.

The planes are now in the Wadi Sayedna air base, the source added.

Belarus is one of the Sudan armament providers. A military cooperation protocol covering training, exchange of experiences, and military science fields was inked between the two countries in June 2006.

If the MIG-29's are used in Darfur it would be in violation of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1591 which prohibits selling arms to Sudan government or Darfur rebels for use in the war ravaged region.

Last year Russia was accused by Amnesty International (AI) supplying arms to Sudan for use in Darfur but the Russian foreign ministry denied the charge.

Last May a MIG-29 was shot down by Darfur rebels over the Sudanese twin capital city of Omdurman and its Russian pilot was killed.