News / Africa

Niger: Libyan Conflict Impacting Sahel Security

Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou says the longer the Libyan conflict drags on, the worse it will be for Libya's neighbors in the Sahel.

President Issoufou says the Libyan crisis has security consequences for Niger including the spread of arms, sometimes heavy arms into the Sahel.


Security forces in Niger recovered detonators, more than 600 kilograms of semtex explosives and $90,000 in cash during a shoot-out with suspected terrorists last month. President Issoufou's government says the arms came from Libya and were intended for Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM,) which is responsible for a string of kidnappings and ambushes across the Sahel.

Mauritania and Mali are fighting AQIM militants in the Wagadou forest region along their common border. Mauritania, Mali, and Niger all say they are concerned that some of the weapons captured by insurgents in Libya are being sold to the al-Qaida-affiliated group.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the Libyan conflict risks destabilizing the region further.

Rasmussen says NATO understands the risk that fighting in Libya poses for security in the Sahel. That is why he is encouraging the international community to begin preparing for a peaceful, democratic transition in a post-Moammar Gadhafi Libya.

The fighting has also disrupted commerce across the region and has suspended work on a thousand-kilometer trans-Saharan highway between Libya and Niger. President Issoufou says Niger has lost billions of West African Francs in taxes and trade.

President Issoufou says the economic consequences to the Libyan conflict have cut trade between the countries, seriously affecting Niger tax revenue. The president says there are social consequences as well with the return home of more than 200,000 Nigeriens who were working in Libya.

Niger not only loses the remittances those workers were sending home from Libya but must now also absorb them into an economy where there is already high unemployment.

“At this point, it has been basically a migrant crisis. It could very quickly become a mixed crisis if Libyans start to leave in large numbers," said William Swing, the director of the U.N.'s International Organization for Migration. "And eventually could become something much larger on the refugee side.”

Swing's group says nearly 600,000 Egyptians, Tunisians, Algerians, Chadians, and Nigeriens have fled Libya since the fighting began in February.

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

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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 Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid