As many as 500,000 people/year are killed in little regional wars Congo to Colombia—most of them with portable assault rifles such as the AK-47. Viktor Bout has armed almost every warlord and terrorist who can afford it. Bout was the single largest supplier of guns to the Revolutionary United Front and its child soldiers in Sierra Leone, aiding the outbreak of horrific campaigns of mass torture, rape, and amputation. Bout also armed warring factions in Afghanistan in the late nineties, working for the Northern Alliance government while covertly selling planes and weapons to Taliban militants (who shared them with Al Qaeda). Rival international gunrunners provided merely the arms and false documents authorizing their transfer, Bout, however is a full service killer he includes delivery to the riskiest war zone.
Thai Police Hold Russian Arms Dealer Sought by U.S. (Update1)
By Suttinee Yuvejwattana and Robin Stringer March 6 (Bloomberg) — A Russian accused of breaking United Nations arms embargoes was arrested by Thai police in Bangkok at the request of the U.S. Viktor Bout, a former Soviet air force officer, was arrested in connection with a warrant issued by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Thai police Lieutenant Pongpat Chayapan said today in a telephone interview. Police colonel Petcharat Sengchai said Bout was wanted on charges of supplying arms to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a paramilitary group that has fought Colombia’s authorities for more than 40 years, the Associated Press reported. Colombia last week carrying out a cross border air strike on FARC rebels based in Ecuador, killing one of their leaders and prompting Venezuela to send troops to the Colombian border. Bout runs a network of cargo companies that specialize in transporting arms to conflict zones. He was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in July 2004 on allegations of war profiteering after allegedly supplying former Liberian President Charles Taylor with weapons. The Treasury later froze assets of 30 companies and four people linked to Bout in 2006. He travels on at least five different passports, according to UN reports. Russia will probably decide whether to seek Bout’s extradition after receiving documents confirming Bout’s detention in two or three days, the Russia’s RIA Novosti news service said today, citing an unidentified law-enforcement official.