National Catholic Register

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South African Religious Warn Against Syrian Arms

BY Jim Cosgrove

March 16-22, 1997 Issue | Posted 3/16/97 at 2:00 PM

 

EAST LONDON, South Africa—The Conference of Major Religious Superiors of South Africa has warned the South African government of repercussions if it goes ahead with a controversial arms deal with Syria.

In a statement released in Johannesburg and made available to the National Catholic Register March 2, the conference said the former apartheid regime had already sent vast quantities of weapons to neighboring Mozambique as part of its aim to destabilize that country.

“However, we should consider this: that a substantial number of those weapons are now being smuggled back into South Africa and sold to the hijackers, the hitmen, the taxi warriors (involved in bloody taxi wars in various cities) and the rapists who make our lives a misery,” said the statement signed by conference president Father Chris Chatteris, S.J.

The government faced a barrage of criticism when minutes from a cabinet meeting were leaked. The minutes revealed that a plan to sell tank-firing control systems to Syria was being considered. (Noel Bruyns)