Arms Flows

Arms flows to and within Sudan are conditioned by a number of factors. These include chronic local, national, and cross-border conflicts involving Sudan; neighbouring states' regular support for Sudanese armed groups; sustained reliance by the Sudan government on paramilitaries, militias and armed groups to fight proxy wars; entrenched systems of patronage involving weapons transfers; and 'leakage' (theft, capture, sales) from official—including peacekeeping missions—and non-official armed forces.
State-to-state transfers of small arms, light weapons, and conventional military equipment are primary sources of weapons to and within Sudan. Domestic commercial markets and trafficking over poorly controlled borders with other states are also important sources of weapons. Indeed, Sudan has been a major conduit and source of small arms and light weapons to other countries in the region including Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda. Foreign armed groups passing across Sudanese borders are yet another source.
Since the outbreak of hostilities in Darfur in late 2002 and despite the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, the demand for arms among Sudanese governments in Khartoum and Juba has grown considerably. Substantial revenues from oil exports have allowed both the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Sudan People's Liberation Army to strengthen their military capabilities, although to a much larger extent in the North.
In Darfur the ongoing conflict has dramatically increased flows to both government forces and their allied proxies, as well as to Chadian and Sudanese opposition groups operating there. The on-off Sudan-Chad proxy war, the absence of a lasting peace deal for Darfur, and the high levels of inter-ethnic violence in the South (even after the successful January 2011 referendum on Southern self-determination) make it very likely that demand for weapons will continue to increase.
A number of legal instruments exist for regulating transfers of arms to and within Sudan, though they are generally regarded as insufficient for stemming in-flows. The UN Mission in Sudan and the African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation (UNAMID) in Darfur are tasked with monitoring and reporting on arms flows, but have failed to adequately document them; UNAMID has also been a source of weapons and ammunition to armed groups.
For in-depth information about arms flows to and within Sudan, see HSBA Issue Brief 15, Supply and Demand: Arms Flows and Holdings in Sudan (December 2009), also in Arabic, and HSBA Working Paper 18, Skirting the Law: Sudan's Post-CPA Arms Flow (September 2009).
For information on arms transfers from Khartoum to North and South Kordofan, click here.