News / Africa

    Gadhafi Collapse Raises Concerns Over Arms for Africa al-Qaida

    Large mortar shells sit unguarded, and boxes that once held anti-aircraft missiles and other heavy weapons are strewn about arms depots around Tripoli on Wednesday Sept. 7, 2011. Former rebels say they've taken some ammunition for the fight against suppor
    Large mortar shells sit unguarded, and boxes that once held anti-aircraft missiles and other heavy weapons are strewn about arms depots around Tripoli on Wednesday Sept. 7, 2011. Former rebels say they've taken some ammunition for the fight against suppor

    The collapse of Moammar Gadhafi's rule is raising concern about the spread of weapons from Libya and the effect on security in a Sahelian region where al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists are already active.

    Human Rights Watch says thousands of mines, mortars and shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles are missing from Gadhafi arsenals.

    Some of those weapons are being used in Libya as the war there continues. But other arms are moving south into the Sahel - some with former Gadhafi forces who have crossed into Mali and Niger, some for sale.

    Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz says Libyan weapons have been acquired by members of the terrorist group al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM.  He told French television that an AQIM attack on a Mauritanian garrison in July included surface-to-air missiles that he says could only have come from Libya.

    Algeria and Chad have both expressed concern about AQIM benefiting from a free flow of Libyan arms.

    Niger says it has broken up an AQIM training camp in the country's northern Air Mountains, and that its raid on the camp freed 59 recruits.  The defense ministry is asking for international assistance to help Niger gather intelligence about terror groups and to conduct aerial surveillance.

    Niger's Justice Minister Marou Amadou says the fall of the Gadhafi government is helping terrorists.

    Amadou says AQIM is supplied in Libya and that is a danger for everyone.  It is a very grave situation, he says, and people should start to pay more attention.

    Africa's Sahel region
    Africa's Sahel region
    The Sahel is six million square kilometers and runs along the southern fringe of the Sahara from Mauritania and Senegal to Chad.   And it is in the Sahel where Amadou says these forces are organizing.  They do whatever they want there, Amadou says.  The justice minister says terrorists are a menace for Sahelian governments, but more than anything else, they represent a threat to Europe.

    Husaini Monguno is a Nigerian defense and counter-terrorism analyst.  He says more sophisticated weapons for al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb will likely accelerate the group's campaign against Sahelian governments and foreign aid workers.

    “Surface-to-air missiles [are] easy for them to get because they have a number of sponsors," said Monguno. "They will destabilize the government.  And you see they have a number of people who they normally attack.  And if the type of people they attack are within their region they will obviously become a problem for those people.”

    Monguno says that Gadhafi loyalists forced out of Libya ultimately could use AQIM fighters against the new leaders in Tripoli.

    "Of course because they are at the losing end, so they would not want to see Libya being stabilized by other people apart from them," said Monguno.  "They have been there for 43 years, so it is only natural for them to try to destabilize the whole country.  These people have a common tradition.  They speak a common language. Al-Qaida in the Maghreb is not a new thing."

    Monguno says it is not just Libyan missiles that could destabilize the region. Land mines can be used to make car bombs, he says, and small arms can be used to attack military posts.  Both are methods of attack used by the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram.

    "If you are talking about light weapons, yes, that is common in all Sub-Saharan Africa, because we have a porous border.  We don't control what comes in and out.  Therefore it would give us a great sense of concern, especially in Nigeria, where we have a new group coming up with terrorist activities," said Monguno.

    Libya’s National Transitional Council says it is working to collect weapons removed from Gadhafi armories.  But without an inventory of arms purchased by the former government, it is impossible to know for sure how many weapons are missing.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora