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Niger, Burkina Faso: Gadhafi Has Not Crossed Border

Niger's Foreign Affairs Minister Mohamed Bazoum, September 7, 2011

The governments of Niger and Burkina Faso say they are not giving refuge to the deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The former leader's whereabouts are unknown as Libya's interim leaders say they are determined to bring him to justice.

Speculation about Mr. Gadhafi's exit route has focused on Niger, where several members of his government, including his security chief, arrived by convoy earlier this week.

But Niger's Justice Minister Marou Amadou says Mr. Gadhafi is not in the country and, as a former head of state, will not enter Niger incognito. Amadou told reporters that if the former Libyan leader asks to come to Niger, the government in Niamey will notify the international community of its decision.

Burkina Faso offered Mr. Gadhafi asylum two weeks ago, but a government spokesman Tuesday withdrew that offer. President Blaise Compaore says the former Libyan leader is not in Burkina Faso.

President Compaore says his government has no information about the presence of any Libyans on Burkinabe territory. He says neither Mr. Gadhafi nor any members of his family have sought asylum in Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso and Niger have both recognized Libya's interim National Transitional Council as the new government in Tripoli.

But Mr. Gadhafi remains popular in much of the Sahelian region south of Libya where he has invested millions of dollars in public and private projects and has close ties to Tuareg nomads from Niger and Mali, some of whom are part of his security detail.