A German army adviser trains agroup of Peshmerga forces carrying G36 rifles. KRG photo
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Kurdish military officials revealed on Saturday that they are investigating reports of the sale of German-supplied weapons by Peshmerga soldiers as reported in the German media this week.
“We are going to carefully look into the issue, and violators—if any--will face serious punishment,” Jabar Yawar, Chief of Staff of the Peshmerga Ministry told Rudaw.
Yawar added that anyone found guilty of using guns for any purpose other than fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) will be put on trial in a military court.
A report by the German NDR and WDR broadcasters this week claimed to have evidence that Heckler & Koch G-3 and G-36 assault rifles and Walter P-1 handguns donated by Germany to the Peshmerga have been sold in the open market.
The Peshmerga ministry said that it will make public the outcome of its investigations.
Rudaw English followed up on the story and sent two reporters to the Erbil gun market on Saturday, but were stopped by Kurdish security forces who guarded the market gate.
A security officer said they were in the market on a special mission, without disclosing any further details.
Meanwhile Lieutenant Salar Jabbari, head of the Peshmerga ministry’s munitions department told Rudaw that he has only five cases of missing weapons on file and they are under investigation.
Lieut. Jabbari added that the cases under investigation are not necessarily linked to German-supplied weapons.
“We uphold strict rules and regulations on arms control. Our committee will go to frontline to investigate these claims,” he said.
Since the start of the war with ISIS Germany has supplied the Kurdish forces with G-3 and G-36 assault rifles as well as anti-tank Milan missiles.
The Ministry of Peshmerga said that it has received three reports related to the German G-36 and it was about the rifles breaking down in battle.
“Even in these cases we have asked the battalion to send us the broken parts to ensure they have not been sold,” he said.
Lieut. Jabbbari Salar said that the gun markets in both Erbil and Sulaimani have strict warning from the Peshmerga Ministry against buying or selling any newly-supplied German arms.
A follow-up article published in the German DW claimed, without quoting him directly, that the Governor of Kirkuk Najmaldan Karim confirmed that such sales had taken place due to economic hardship and unpaid salaries.
Speaking to Rudaw English however, the governor "categorically rejected" having said anything to any journalist to the effect of Peshmerga selling their weapons.
Lieut. Jabbari of the Peshmerga Ministry explained that they have given their German allies written guarantees that such weapons will not fall into wrong hands.
“Even if we find out that a former Peshmerga sold his gun and left the country we will call on the Interpol to find the violators,” he said.