The government of Gambia procures the arms from Iran and in turn sells the weapons to Hezbollah, according to the Freedom Newspaper, Gambia's independent online media outlet. It also alleges that the Gambian President Yahya Jammeh makes approximately $100 million a year from weapons trafficking; he is also accused of selling drugs through Hezbollah.
When Nigerian officials seized thirteen shipping containers of weapons in October 2010. The investigation that followed quickly showed that Iran was behind this shipment, and that the weapons cache was directed to Gambia, a small country, totally encircled by Senegal except for a short coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. Gambia, as a consequence, cut its diplomatic relations to Iran.
The Iranian government, which is facing an arms embargo from the United Nations Security Council, disclosed that the cargo was indeed meant to be sent to Gambia as part of a confidential agreement signed three years ago, and that the goods seized were the third of such shipments.
The Gambian newspaper further reported that President Jammeh is colluding with Lebanese businessman Mohammad Bazzi, Gambia's Consul General to Lebanon, to buy weapons from Iran to sell to Hezbollah. It also reported that Bazzi created a bank in Gambia, Prime Bank, a subsidiary of the Lebanese Canadian Bank (LCB), which is blacklisted by the US for its ties to Hezbollah. According to Freedom Newspaper, the Prime Bank is used to assist in money laundering and weapons trading activities. Bazzi denies the allegations, requested the immediate withdrawal of the accusations, and threatened to sue the paper.
- Gambian President's hometown "has long been used for Iranian arms storage"
- Freedom Newspaper: There is a Hezbollah cartel in Gambia
- The Gambian President has been accused of acting in concert with Lebanese alleged Hezbollah supporters
March 16, 2011
Gambian President's hometown "has long been used for Iranian arms storage."
"A few months before Gambia soured diplomatic ties with Iran, the country's press were invited for a news briefing at the Fajara [Resort area in Gambia] Army Barracks, where the Head of the Iranian Mission in [the Gambian capital] Banjul Saied Zare, [Gambian] Army Chief of Defense Staff Major General Masaneh Kinteh, [Gambian] Interior Minister Ousman Sonko were in attendance. […]
"[…] The press conference later turned out to be a hoax, as The Gambian authorities prevailed on journalists to refrain from taking pictures. They also wanted to determine what reporters should write, and what they should not write. But a member of the local press managed to secretly photograph the members of high table. The reporter never disclosed to us what transpired on the day in question until after the seizure of the Iranian 13 arms container scandal; the arms had been destined for the Kanilai Farms [Kanilai is a village in southern Gambia. President of The Gambia Yahya Jammeh was born in this village. It is now home to the presidential palace and his farms]. Kanilai has long been used for Iranian arms storage. […]
"Thanks to [former Iranian] Ambassador Saied Zare, and his former [Gambian] counterpart Lamin Kaba Bajo, Gambia's armed forces were able to benefit from the Iranian's military training. The Iranian training team was stationed in Kanilai, where it trained our men on modern arms operations. […] [However] Ambassador Zare was misled by the Government about the regime's objective of securing such arms from Iran. It was not meant for national security. That is far from the truth. Some of these arms had landed in the hands of the [Senegalese separatist] Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance [Senegal's Southern Casamance province has been waging a bloody independence campaign against the central government in Dakar since 1982] […]. Freedom Newspaper (Gambia's Premier Online Newspaper)
February 26, 2011
Freedom Newspaper: There is a Hezbollah cartel in Gambia
There is a Hezbollah cartel in Banjul [the Gambian capital], who are acting in concert with the country's President Yahya Jammeh to sell arms to the terrorist group's main base in Lebanon, a source reaching the Freedom Newspaper has alleged.
The arms deal goes like this: Gambia procures the arms from Iran, and in turn sells these deadly weapons to Hezbollah, the source further alleged. It is a well coordinated scheme, which has been going on for a while. It is alleged that Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh, who is at the centre of this arms proliferation scheme, has been making over $100 million a year just from arms trafficking. This is an estimated figure pending further verifications.
The illegal arms proliferation scheme between Teheran and The Gambia contributed immensely towards Mr. Jammeh's ill-gotten wealth. Mr. Jammeh's Government had signed a three years arms supply deal with Teheran, prior to their diplomatic breakaway, which Jammeh exploits to the maximum. His own Foreign Minister Dr. Momodou Tangara, told his Senegalese counterpart Mr. Niang that some of these Iranian arms landed in The Gambia back in 2005. Mr. Tangara claimed that the arms were meant for homeland security. But a source reaching the Freedom Newspaper disagrees.
The Gambian President has been accused of acting in concert with Lebanese alleged Hezbollah supporters
Some of the arms that were being trafficked from Iran to Gambia were meant for commercial purposes, the source alleged. The President has been accused of acting in concert with some Lebanese alleged-Hezbollah-supporters in Gambia to dispose of these arms to the Lebanon home grown terror network.
It is imperative to note that some of the Iranian arms also landed in the hands of the MFDC rebel fighters in the Casamance. This was evident when a Senegalese army intelligence unit informed the Senegalese Government that the bullets that killed its soldiers in Casamance [last February 2011] were coming from Iranian arms.
The intercepted Iranian arms are currently a subject of legal litigation in Nigeria, where a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and other accused persons are standing trial for arm trafficking. Nigerian Customs officials had intercepted 13 containers of arms that were destined for President Jammeh's Kanilai Farms. […] Freedom Newspaper (Gambia's Premier Online Newspaper)\