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23.9.2021 : 20:25 : +0200

Reaching for the gun: Arms flows and holdings
in South Sudan — new Sudan HSBA Issue Brief

The Small Arms Survey’s Sudan/South Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment (HSBA) is pleased to announce the release of a new Issue Brief: Reaching for the Gun: Arms Flows and Holdings in South Sudan

This Issue Brief reviews arms flows and holdings among both state and non-state armed forces as of early 2012, situating recent developments against historical trends and patterns of supply. It updates a previous HSBA report on small arms and light weapons flows and holdings in Sudan from December 2009.

Key findings include:

  • In 2010–11 the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) acquired large quantities of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition, 10 Russian-manufactured Mi-17 transport helicopters, as well as final deliveries of 33 T-72 battle tanks that were delivered to Mombasa Port, Kenya, in February 2009.
  • Ukraine has been South Sudan’s principal supplier of weapons since 2005. Kenya and Uganda have been used as transshipment points for onward delivery to South Sudan
  • From November 2010 to May 2011, the South Sudan Police Service (SSPS) marked 41,200 firearms distributed among various official security forces, permitting it to trace a number of firearms that leaked out of state control to non-state actors. The SPLA would benefit from similarly marking its weapons.
  • South Sudanese rebel militia groups are well equipped with both small and large calibre small arms and light weapons. Analysis of captured materiel reveals that they have consistent access to new weapons from SAF and, to a lesser degree, from the SPLA, and a number of governments both inside and outside the region.
  • Although the SPLA and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) officially separated in July 2011, military and logistical cooperation and collaboration between the two forces continues.

‘Reaching for the Gun’ is the 19th Issue Brief from the Small Arms Survey’s HSBA project. It can be downloaded in English (and shortly in Arabic) from

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Jonah Leff
HSBA Project Coordinator


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