News / Africa

Gadhafi Used Al-Qaida Threat to Maintain Power, Says Opposition Leader

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi speaks during a live speech in this still image taken from video April 30, 2011
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi speaks during a live speech in this still image taken from video April 30, 2011

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  • Clottey interview with Mufta Lamloom , leader of the opposition Libyan National Movement,

Peter Clottey

A Libyan opposition leader says embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has for years used the threat of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida terrorist group to maintain power and to crack down on dissent.

“To frighten the West,” says Mufta Lamloom of the Libyan National Movement, “Gadhafi  frequently warned, if you don’t support me, the alternative is al-Qaida ruling Libya,” a claim the opposition leader dismisses as an empty threat.

Lamloom says opposition groups as well as the National Transitional Council will cooperate with the U.S. in its global anti-terrorism campaign.

His comments come on the heels of President Barack Obama’s remarks that the world is a safer place because of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden’s death.

Lamloom says it is unclear whether bin Laden’s passing will have any impact on the opposition’s efforts to oust Gadhafi.

“The Muslims have no great ties with Osama bin Laden or with his set up. So, I don’t think it is going to affect anything in Libya,” he said.

At the White House Monday, President Obama said news of bin Laden’s death marked “a good day for America,” and that the United States kept its commitment to see justice is done.

U.S. officials say DNA testing provided a match with 99.9 percent certainty that bin Laden is indeed dead.

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