Weapons supplied by Iran to Houthi allies in Yemen smuggled into Somalia for Al Shabab insurgents
The VOI reported according to an agency based in Geneva, Switzerland, weapons supplied by Iran to Houthi allies in Yemen are being smuggled across the Gulf of Aden into Somalia, where Al-Qaeda-linked Al Shabab insurgents are battling a weak and divided government.
The Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime said its study took data from more than 400 weapons documented at 13 locations across Somalia over eight months, and an inventory of 13 dhows intercepted by naval vessels.
This is the first publicly available study of the scale of illicit arms smuggling from Yemen to the Horn of Africa country.
"Weapons originating from the Iran-Yemeni arms trade are being trafficked to Somalia itself," said the study, which will be published on Wednesday, citing Reuters Nov. 10.
The study continued: "Iran has repeatedly denied involvement in arms trade to the Houthis. However, most of the evidence points to Iranian state supplies."
Iran's Foreign Ministry and a spokesman for Yemen's Houthi forces did not respond to requests for comment on the study. Iran has repeatedly denied involvement in arms trafficking to Houthi allies in Yemen, where a six-year civil war has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Somalia government and the interior security minister did not return calls or messages seeking comment.
The study said investigators were unable to fully document gun buyers and sellers. But it said signs of the weapons were originally supplied by the Iranian state, including very close serial numbers indicating they were part of the same shipment, information from a satellite navigation system about confiscated dhows, and human intelligence from smuggling gangs.
One dhow carrying weapons seized by a US Navy ship had GPS with stored points in Iran, southern Yemen, and Somalia, the report said, including a small port near the port of Jask, which houses an Iranian naval base, and a 'home' ' as the port of Mukalla in Yemen, a notorious center for arms smuggling.
Additionally, the study said the weapons ended up with commercial smuggling networks, whose customers could include armed factions seeking to profit ahead of Somalia's repeatedly delayed presidential election, as well as clan militias and rival Islamist insurgent groups linked to Al Qaeda and the State. Islam.