Iran-backed terror groups and Lebanon’s Hizballah active in Africa, Trump administration says Updated for 2021

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Updated: March 1, 2021


The Trump administration said on Monday that Iran-backed terrorist organizations and Lebanon’s Hizballah are “active in Africa”, and are “raising money throughout the continent”.

“We know that Iran-backed terrorist organizations are active in Africa. We know that Hizballah in particular is active in Africa, raising money throughout the continent,” Nathan A. Sales, an Ambassador-at-large and coordinator for U.S. counter terrorism efforts told a press briefing in Washington DC on Monday.

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NATHAN A. SALES, Ambassador-at-large and coordinator for U.S. counter terrorism efforts during a press briefing at the State Department Foreign Press Center in Washington D.C. on Monday April 22, 2019. Photo: EMMANUEL IKODOR,TODAY NEWS AFRICA

“I believe the Treasury Department issued a number of designations some months ago focusing on Hizballah activity in Africa, and one of the front companies that stood out to me was a pig farm, I think in Liberia.  Yeah, the Hizballah pig farm in Liberia. 

“So we know that these malign actors are very active on the continent, and we look forward to partnering with governments there to cut off a flow of money back to Hizballah,” Ambassador Sales added.

At the joint press briefing with Ambassador Sales, Michael T. Evanoff, Assistant Secretary of State for diplomatic security and Marshall Billingslea, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for terrorism financing, the Trump administration announced that the U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice Program was offering up to ten million U.S. dollars for the information leading to the disruption of financial activities that support the global terrorist organization Lebanese Hizballah.

The announcement marked the first time the Department had offered a reward for the information on Hizballah financial networks

“The Lebanese-based terrorist organization, which the State Department designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in October 1997, receives weapons, training, funding from Iran.  The Secretary of State designated Iran as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1984,” Michael T. Evanoff, Assistant Secretary of State for diplomatic security said.

L – R: NATHAN A. SALES, Ambassador-at-large and coordinator for U.S. counter terrorism, MARSHALL BILLINGSLEA, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for terrorism financing and MICHAEL T. EVANOFF, Assistant Secretary of State for diplomatic security, during a press briefing at the State Department Foreign Press Center in Washington D.C. on Monday April 22, 2019. Photo: EMMANUEL IKODOR,TODAY NEWS AFRICA

He said in previous years, Hizballah had generated about $1 billion annually through direct financial support from Iran, international businesses and investments, donor networks, and money-laundering activities. 

L – R: NATHAN A. SALES, Ambassador-at-large and coordinator for U.S. counter terrorism and MARSHALL BILLINGSLEA, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for terrorism financing during a press briefing at the State Department Foreign Press Center in Washington D.C. on Monday April 22, 2019. Photo: EMMANUEL IKODOR,TODAY NEWS AFRICA

“The group uses these funds to support its malign activities throughout the world, which includes the development of militia to Syria in the support of Assad dictatorship; and to Yemen in support of the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels; surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations in the American homeland; and enhanced military capabilities, including its claim to possess precision-guided missiles”.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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