Cote d’Ivoire is currently under a UN arms embargo after the incumbent president Gbagbo refused to step down to pave way for Alassane Quattara who is widely believed to have won the election last year and has the backing of the international community.
According tonews agency reports, the UN is investigating “the arrival of light weapons cargoes allegedly from Zimbabwe.
However, Zimbabwe Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday shot down the allegations saying the country was actually struggling to get weapons for its own army because of Western sanctions.
“There is nothing like that. We ourselves are looking for arms,” Mr Mnangagwa told the privately owned daily NewsDay. “You yourself, do you believe such stupid things.”
The country’s arms manufacturer, the Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI), has been operating below capacity because of the world breaking inflation that dogged Zimbabwe’s economy until 2009.
ZDI has in the past been caught up in murky arms deals with countries under UN arms embargoes.In 2005, a group of mercenaries heading for the Democratic Republic of Congo was intercepted in Harare after they bought arms from ZDI.
A ship carrying a ZDI consignment of 32 398/81 mm mortar bombs disappeared in 1997 allegedly on its way to Sri Lanka with arms for that country’s army under a $6 million government-to-government deal.
At that time, Sri Lanka was locked in a civil war with the Tamil Tigers rebels.Zimbabwe has in the past sent troops to fight wars in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).Grenades manufactured by ZDI were also found in captured Zimbabwean servicemen in the DRC in the 90s.