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Zimbabwe Under Scrutiny for Alleged Transfer of Weapons to Ivory Coast

  • Tatenda Gumbo

Reuters reported that it obtained a confidential report by the UN Mission to Ivory Coast, UNOCI, pointing to Zimbabwe as a source of arms for President Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to hand over power to Alassane Ouattara

The United Nations is said to be probing allegations that Zimbabwe violated an international arms embargo on Ivory Coast by secretly selling weapons to supporters of embattled incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo.

Reuters reported that it obtained a confidential report by the UN Mission to Ivory Coast, UNOCI, pointing to Zimbabwe as a source of arms for President Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to hand over power to Alassane Ouattara, considered by most countries to have won the presidential election held there in November 2010.

Reuters said the UN report documented the arrival of cargoes of light weapons from Zimbabwe. Ivory Coast has been under an arms embargo since 2004.

Gbagbo, who proclaimed President Robert Mugabe correct in his opposition to the West, in December dispatched Ivorian Ambassador to South Africa Zoge Abie to Harare to seek support ahead of an African Union meeting on the Ivory Coast crisis in January.

Sources in the Zimbabwe defense industry report small arms have been shipped to Ivory Coast. Zimbabwean officials at the United Nations in New York declined to comment.

Defense analyst Romer Heitmean Helmoed with Jane’s Defense Weekly told VOA Studio 7 reporter Tatenda Gumbo that the allegations are not surprising given President Mugabe’s elections record. Helmoed said Zimbabwe has had the capability to manufacture weapons, and can readily ship them abroad.

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