Shi’ites get arms via Eritrea

2009-11-08 17:12

Addis Ababa – Iran is using Eritrea as a base to provide weapons to Shi’ite insurgents in Yemen, an Eritrean opposition leader alleged on Sunday.

“They (rebels) are receiving their arms from Iran through Eritrea,” Bashir Eshaq, head of external relations for the opposition Eritrean Democratic Alliance, told AFP in an interview.

“The weapons arrive in Eritrea’s coastal towns – mainly Assab, and from then onwards, Huthi rebels smuggle the arms to Yemen at night,” he added.

Eritrea lies just across the Red Sea to the west of Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The Horn of Africa nation has frosty relations with the West, but has recently fostered close economic ties with Iran.

Sanaa routinely accuses Tehran’s Shi’ite regime of backing the insurgents, a charge the insurgents deny.

Yemeni authorities announced last month they had seized five Iranian nationals on a boatload of weapons destined for the rebels, but Iranian state-owned television dismissed the allegations as a “media lie”.

Fighting escalated over the weekend as the rebels claimed gains against government troops.

The rebels said on Sunday they had downed a Yemeni combat aircraft on the Saudi border and captured several Saudi soldiers after the neighbouring state entered the fray earlier in the week by stepping up bombing raids against rebel positions.

Yemen’s armed forces launched Operation Scorched Earth on August 11, aimed at crushing the Zaidi rebels who have waged an insurgency since 2004.

Hundreds of people have been killed or wounded in the clashes, and tens of thousands have been forced to flee their homes, resulting in a humanitarian crisis complicated by a dire shortage of food and other basic necessities.


Short URL:

Posted by on Nov 10 2009 Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Photo Gallery

Log in |2011