News / Africa

Niger Airs Concerns Over West's Libya Intervention

An F-16 jet fighter taking off from the NATO airbase in Aviano, Italy this week
An F-16 jet fighter taking off from the NATO airbase in Aviano, Italy this week

Multimedia

Audio
Julia Ritchey

Civil society groups in Niger are speaking out against the Western-backed military intervention against its northern neighbor Libya and the country's leader Moammar Gadhafi, where fighting between pro-Gadhafi forces and rebels has caused thousands of refugees to flood across its border.

Niger's government has yet to take an official position on the Western no-fly zone being enforced in Libya, but opinions in the rest of the country and the region are mixed.

Civil groups had planned a pro-Gadhafi demonstration last Friday, but were barred by authorities at the last minute. A similar protest in the capital of neighboring Mali last week drew thousands.

Several Niger citizens said they were angry with what they believe is an attack on Libya's sovereignty.

This man says it's a condemnable act and unreasonable and says that right now France and America are beating up on Libya. He says these are our brothers by blood and any problem that touches Libya touches all people of Niger.

Another man says he believes Western powers are after oil. He said Colonel Gadhafi may not be perfect, but at least he distributes the oil wealth to his citizens.

Some news reports have suggested Gadhafi may be using trained mercenaries from Mali, Niger and other African countries to fight anti-government rebels.

A political figure and former Ambassador of Niger to Libya, Bashar Issoufou, said it's important to understand that Gadhafi has spent years building a network of allies on the continent.

He says when Gadhafi first came to power he believed strongly in the idea of Arab nationalism, being influenced by former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. But after President Nasser, he had problems with the Arabs and turned to Africa instead. He began pushing for a unified Africa with one government and one army.

Issoufou says he too is skeptical of the West's motives for intervening.

He says what happened in Tunisia and Egypt gave Western countries the perfect opportunity to take advantage of Libya's vast oil reserves. But he says as long as Colonel Ghadafi is in power, he will be controlling it.

Indicative of how the continent is split, the African Union on Tuesday pulled out of a London summit on Libya after its members could not agree over its position on Western-led military involvement.

Moammar Gadhafi is one of the largest donors to the AU. However, in perhaps its most vocal reproach of the embattled Libyan leader since the crisis began, the AU last week called for a peaceful political transition that leads to democratic elections.

A government spokesman says it is following the situation in Libya “with great concern.” The spokesman says officials are working with its embassy in Tripoli to repatriate and evacuate Niger citizens who are trapped in the country and to help refugees. The U.N. Refugee Agency says more than 10,700 refugees have fled from Libya into Niger, most of them women and children.

 

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid