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Iranian ships seized ‘smuggling North Korean machine guns to Somalia militants’

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EXPRESS — The weapons were on their way to war-torn Somalia when they were caught by an inspection looking for contraband.

A UN diplomat earlier asked: “Why are Iranian and North Korean small arms finding their way into Somalia from Libya? Do they date from before the arms embargoes (against both North Korea and Iran)? How did they get there from Libya?

“It certainly emphasises the point that Somalia is a country awash with arms and still very fragile.”

It is believed the weapons were sent by Iran in an attempt to arm militants fighting in Somalia.

The ships were intercepted in the Arabian Sea by a French vessel.

The Type 73 machine guns were manufactured in the prison country before being sold to Iran between 1970 and 1980.
The hermit kingdom has repeatedly taken part in a series of illegal activities to fund its nuclear and missile programmes.

Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung sanctioned the production of opium and other drugs, including fake prescription medicine.

In 2001 the income from these activities was estimated to be as high as £800,000 ($1billion).

The news follows shocking claims that Kim Jong-un was prepared to sell nuclear weapons to “anybody with hard currency” including to Iran and terrorist groups, an ex-UN ambassador has claimed.

John Bolton, former US ambassador to the UN, said North Korea could also sell nuclear weapons to aspiring nuclear powers unless the rogue nation was stopped.

North Korea has continued with its development of a nuclear weapons arsenal despite international condemnation.

After the rogue state’s despot leader Kim Jong-un started a furious war of words with US President Donald Trump fears of the possible outbreak of World War 3 intensified.

Mr Bolton added his “preferred outcome” to the growing US-North Korea crisis would be to “reunite the two Koreas” but conceded talks with the hermit state would be a “complete non-starter”.

He said: “My preferred outcome is to reunite the two Koreas. That wouldn’t happen overnight.

“There are a variety of possibilities, one possibility is the Chinese said ‘we’re doing all we can, why don’t you sit down and negotiate with the North Koreans’, which is a complete non-starter in my view.

“I think then the outcome is nearly certain that North Korea will get nuclear weapons and not just North Korea since they’ll sell to anybody with hard currency, Iran, terrorist groups, other aspiring nuclear powers.

“That’s why the resolution of the North Korea issue is so important because the proliferation impact of North Korea visibly getting nuclear weapons around the world would be considerable.”

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Somaliland

Protests in Somaliland As Opposition Claim Election Fraud

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Wadani Party supporters took to the streets of various opposition strongholds to protest what they claim to be election irregularities.

In Burco police used live bullets to disperse protestors.

Riots erupted hours after senior Wadani officials held a press conference on Thursday morning, accusing the ruling party of purchasing and using ballot papers forged with NEC’s official stamp.

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Somali News

Pentagon says more than 500 US troops now in Somalia, but denies ‘build up’

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The Pentagon announced in a statement Thursday there are now “more than” 500 US troops on the ground in Somalia.

A significant increase from early 2014 when roughly two dozen troops arrived for the first time since 1993 and the Black Hawk Down incident.

US Africa Command says there have been 28 airstrikes this year, mostly from drones against al-Shabaab, long considered the greatest terror threat in Africa.

At a press conference Thursday at the Pentagon, a top defense official denied any “ramp-up.”

“I do not believe necessarily there’s a ramp-up,” said Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr., director of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff when asked about the spike in airstrikes in Somalia. “It’s the density of targets is such that now there’s some of opportunities to do those strikes.”

The US military recently conducted six straight days of airstrikes in Somalia from last Thursday to Tuesday.

Last month, al-Shabaab was blamed for a truck bombing in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu which killed over 300 people.

The head of the Pentagon’s joint staff said there’s no link between the fall of the ISIS capital Raqqa last month, and the first airstrikes against ISIS in Yemen and Somalia.

US DRONE STRIKE IN SOMALIA KILLS ‘SEVERAL AL-SHABAAB MILITANTS, MILITARY SAYS

Earlier this month, the US conducted the first airstrikes against ISIS in Somalia.

McKenzie also denied the increase of hundreds of additional troops in Somalia as a “build up,” but just a “flow of forces in and out” of the country.

In May, a Navy SEAL was killed fighting al-Shabaab, the first combat death in Somalia since 1993.

In addition to Somalia, the US military has conducted over 100 airstrikes against Al Qaeda in Yemen, including the first strikes against ISIS in Yemen last month.

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Briefing Room

UNSC votes to extend sanctions on Eritrea and Somalia

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The United Nations Security Council has voted to extend an arms embargo imposed on Eritrea and Somalia for allegedly supporting al-Shabaab. The decision comes barely a week after a panel of experts called for the lifting of sanctions particularly on Somalia. CGTN’s Liling Tan filed this report from New York

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BARTAMAHA TV

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