News / Africa

    Iranian Ammunition Surfaces in African Conflicts

    Iranian Ammunition Surfaces Across African Conflictsi
    X
    January 21, 2013 6:54 PM
    For years, unmarked ammunition has been circulating in some of Africa's bloodiest conflict zones - Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ivory Coast. After a six-year investigation, arms investigators say they have figured out where the ammunition is being made: Iran. Selah Hennessy reports for VOA from London.
    Britain-based research organization says these cartridges, seized in Nigeria, were produced in Iran, Lagos, undated file photo.
    Selah Hennessy
    For years, unmarked ammunition has been turning up in some of Africa's bloodiest conflict zones — Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ivory Coast. After a six-year investigation, independent arms investigators with Britain-based Conflict Armament Research (CAR) say they have figured out where the ammunition is being made: Iran.
     
    According to their December 2012 report, “The Distribution of Iranian Ammunition in Africa," CAR researchers say Iranian ammunition is circulating widely in Africa despite a United Nations arms embargo on Iran.
     
    Their breakthrough came in 2010: At Papa Wharf in Lagos, Nigeria, security forces intercepted 13 containers holding more than 240 metric tons of ammunition. Later, the offloading bill showed that the containers — labeled “building materials," but holding unmarked cartridges identical to those sighted across Africa — had been sent from Iran.
     
    “A manufacturer will put on its cartridges its own manufacturer's code," says CAR director James Bevan, describing what made the cartridges distinct. "That [code] identifies the manufacturer of origin and by extension the country in which it was produced. That’s not the case for this ammunition: All that it has is a caliber designation and a year of manufacture.”
     
    While Bevan says rebel groups have used the ammunition in major conflict zones, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, where millions have died in more than two decades of bloodshed, he said evidence also indicates that government forces have used the ammunition in Sudan, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Kenya.
     
    "The African governments procure the ammunition from Iran for use by their own defense and security forces," said Bevan, formerly a senior field researcher for the Small Arms Survey and a United Nations sanctions inspector. "This ammunition is then used by those forces, and then, at some point further down the line, the ammunition is transferred, whether to insurgent groups in neighboring countries or rebel forces — that is the general pattern."
     
    Tehran has not responded to the report, and the researchers say they do not know who within Iran is responsible for the transfers.
     
    A United Nations Arms Trade Treaty that would monitor the international sale of arms has yet to be finalized.
     
    International aid agency Oxfam wants ammunition monitoring to be a part of the treaty despite opposition from a number of countries, including the United States.
     
    Oxfam says 12 billion bullets are produced every year by an industry worth over $4 billion. New rules are needed, the group says, to make sure ammunition is secure and its transfer is regulated.
     
    "The single greatest factor in reducing civilian casualties in particular and damping down conflict is to cut off the supply of ammunition," said Martin Butcher, arms adviser at Oxfam. "So there are governments and armed groups across sub-Saharan Africa that are looking for ammunition, and ammunition has become much traded on the gray market and on the illicit market in order to keep these conflicts going."
     
    International troops are currently battling Islamist militants in Mali; in neighboring Niger, Islamists have been reported to use Iranian ammunition. Bevan says in time his team will head to Mali to find out if Iranian ammunition has made its way to yet another African conflict zone.

    Peter Cobus contributed to this report from Washington.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    The Complicated Math of AIDS

    A lot, and then some: the huge - and complicated - cost of the AIDS epidemic

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: shahab
    January 23, 2013 12:09 PM
    Wow! what a big crime! U.S.A. never does the same job.

    by: Rastas International
    January 22, 2013 11:16 PM
    CAR perhaps the Organisation can publish a book on their finding - would sell like hotcakes, and once and for all we see who is exporting what and much "blood money" is being made by supplying such weaponry to failed states and terrorist groups.
    The paperwork must be outstanding? mmm

    by: Soumme from: Finland
    January 22, 2013 1:03 AM
    well, what did you expect..?? Iran is a theocratic corrupt apocalyptic suicidal coagulation of scumbags... but wait till they get Nuclear... then you will see some real depravity... we also know what the "democracies" will do... the French will cry and try to surrender... the British will grovel and try to blame others... the German will plead ignorance... the Spanish are a joke... the Italians - farters...

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora