Gambia Affairs:Gambia Government Challenged To Probe Alleged Gambia-bound Arms Shipment from Iran

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 | comments



Saikou Ceesay
The main opposition-UDP leader, OusainouDarboe has challenged The Gambia government to investigate and establish those behind the illegal importation of arms from the UN-sanctioned Iran.

"Why would an illegal shipment of arms have Gambia as its destination," Darboe rhetorically quizzed in an exclusive interview with The Daily News.

In October 2010, a shipment of 13 containers containing grenades, rockets, mortars, and ammunition was impounded by Nigerian authorities at their Lagos sea port.

An Iranian official was quoted as saying that the shipment was bound for The Gambia, but Gambian authorities denied it, and swiftly severed ties with Iran, a country is slapped with four rounds of UN sanctions.

Iran is bared by UN from trading in arms with UN member states in the wake of allegations of its nuclear programme.

"Kanilai Family Farm, the president's family company and the AFRICELL phone line were [allegedly] as involved. The government has the ability to go down to investigate who has been using that AFRICELL line,"OusainouDarboe disclosed Saturday.


Gambia's opposition leader Ousainou Darboe

His comment came after the US Treasury Department on Tuesday 27 March announced major sanctions on a major Iranian cargo airline, an Iranian trading company, and a Nigerian shipping agent that facilitated the alleged Gambia-bound arms shipment.

MrDarboe is not convinced that Gambia government has investigated the saga, challenging his main political rival President YahyaJammeh to clear the good name of The Gambia and his own image as president. He warned that government's failure to investigate the matter will leave accusing fingers pointing at the country in the international arena; that Gambia is conniving with Iran to export arms to other countries.


"I have no evidence that links Gambia as a conspirator but as a citizen and a leader I do not want those accusing fingers be pointed at us,"he remarked.

The Gambia's main opposition leader said he has no evidence at this material point in time to establish that the government of The Gambia has link with Hezbollah, an alleged Lebanon-based terrorist organisation. He pledged to expose the truth whenever he has evidence.

"I know that The Gambia is importing petroleum product but from which country I don't know," UDP leader remarked.

The veteran politician said every country has a right to purchase arms for the defense of its territorial integrity, but he raised eye browse over government's high expenditure on arms and ammunition when the fundamental right to food for Gambians has not been met.

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