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African countries risk getting slapped with sanctions for their ‘friendly’ dealings with North Korea

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North Korea has had friendly relations with many African countries since the anti-colonial struggles of the 1960s, which it supported.

Several African countries risked getting slapped with sanctions and trade restrictions for their dealings with North Korea.

Tanzania, Uganda, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Mozambique, Namibia, Benin, Botswana and Zimbabwe are being investigated by the United Nations for violating sanctions imposed on North Korea.

Tanzania and Uganda are under investigation for entering military related contracts with North Korea while the rest of African countries are being investigated for contracting North Korea’s Mansudae Overseas Project Group for services, including provision of statues.

North Korea has had friendly relations with many African countries since the anti-colonial struggles of the 1960s, which it supported.

A report on the investigations was released by United Nations panel of experts on September 9th, two days prior to the UN Security Council’s unanimous adoption of a tough new round of sanctions aimed at coercing North Korea into negotiations on its nuclear arsenal.

The eight-member panel said it is assessing information from an unnamed UN member-state indicating that Tanzania has entered into military-related contracts with a North Korean corporation valued at about $12.5 million.

The Haegeumgang Trading Corporation is said to be repairing and upgrading Tanzanian surface-to-air missile systems and air defence radar.

“The United Republic of Tanzania is yet to respond to the panel’s enquiries,” the UN investigators said.

The panel is also investigating Uganda for its dealing with North Korea after the Asian nation trained the Ugandan military and police forces, “in particular the Ugandan air force.”

Also under investigation are the activities of a representative of the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation, who had travelled to Uganda from Syria.

In addition, the panel said it is looking into the role of the military attaché office in the North Korean embassy in Kampala.

Both Uganda and Tanzania have not responded to queries according to the 111-page document.

President Yoweri Museveni made a pledge to cut its military and police ties with North Korea during a meeting with his South Korean counterpart in May 2016.

Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa subsequently confirmed the same to NBS Television.

“We are disengaging the cooperation we are having with North Korea as a result of UN sanctions,” Kutesa said.

Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Mozambique and Namibia are also named by the panel of experts as subjects of UN investigation regarding sanctions violations.

Other African countries under probe are Angola, Benin, Botswana, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe for contracting North Korea’s Mansudae Overseas Project Group for services, including provision of statues.

UN panel report said “lax enforcement” of sanctions has allowed North Korea to earn $270 million in foreign transactions since February this year.

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