News24

Burkina Faso, Niger - Libya weapons fear

2011-11-14 22:23

Ouagadougou - Burkina Faso and Niger are concerned about regional insecurity following the conflict in Libya which they fear has led to new arms trafficking, Niger's prime minister said Monday.

"It is a major concern, the trafficking of arms is a real threat to the region," Rafini Briji said on a visit to Ouagadougou.

"The conflict in Libya has created very complicated situations since the arms depots were opened and people from all quarters helped themselves and took them [arms] in all directions," he said.

Briji said Niger and Burkina Faso were worried about armed groups and the concentration of weapons all around their two countries.

In response they have decided to reinforce their co-operation to ensure security in the Sahel-Saharan zone, Briji added.

During a visit to South Africa on Friday, Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou asked for military aid to help fight armed groups and traffickers, saying the Libyan conflict had aggravated terrorist threats.

Since the overthrow and killing of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, experts have expressed concern that part of Gaddafi's considerable stock of weapons could end up in the hands of al-Qaeda's branch in North Africa which has bases in the Sahel and is currently holding several foreign hostages.