Libya accused of destabilising region

2013-05-31 07:44
Nigerien President Mahamadou-Issofou. (AFP, File picture)

Nigerien President Mahamadou-Issofou. (AFP, File picture)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tripoli - With its weak government, porous borders and proliferation of weapons, Libya has been accused of destabilising its southern neighbours, but analysts say it is wrong to point the finger at Tripoli alone.

Niger's President Mahamadou Issofou has said those behind two suicide attacks in his country on May 23 came from southern Libya.

He also said the same groups had been planning another attack on Chad.

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan hit back, saying the allegations were "without basis". He stressed his country "could never become a source of concern or destabilisation for its neighbours" to the south, which have themselves long suffered from instability.

However, Western diplomats and analysts believe that southern Libya has become a regrouping area for jihadist groups pushed out of northern Mali by a French-led offensive launched in January.

The region is a desert no-man's land where the smuggling of weapons, goods and people has flourished.

Faraj Najem, director of the African Centre for Studies in Tripoli, took issue with the allegations made by Niger's president.

"Mali does not share a border with Libya, which is an obstacle for the flow of fighters into southern Libya," Najem said.

Instability

"South-western Libya is controlled by the Toubou, who have no ties to Islamist movements," he added.

The Toubou people, who straddle the border between northern Chad, southern Libya and eastern Niger, share control of the south with several ex-rebel militias who fought against Muammar Gaddafi's regime in the 2011 uprising.

Najem said the presence of these militias meant it was also unlikely that Tuareg fighters from northern Mali would be welcome in southern Libya.

"They [the Tuareg] fought alongside pro-Gaddafi troops and because of this, the thuwar [ex-rebels who fought Gaddafi] are looking for them," he said.

In December, Tripoli decided to close its borders with Chad, Niger, Sudan and Algeria, saddling its fledgling army with a near-impossible task.

Najem said the weakness of the Libyan state meant it had little control over much of the south, making it difficult for Tripoli to seal the borders.

"It is the revolutionaries who hold the real power," he added.

But the country's southern neighbours are in no better state themselves, Libyan political analyst Hassan Imdhar said.

"For several years, the Nigerien, Chadian, Sudanese and Malian authorities have been faced with instability, armed rebellions and attempted coups, and have not managed to control their borders either," he told Libyan television station Al-Hurra.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday during a visit to Niger that there could be terrorist groups in Libya, calling for a "special effort on southern Libya, which is also what Libya wants".

Well-founded suspicions

Claudia Gazzini, Libya analyst for the International Crisis Group, said it was possible that those behind the Niger attacks might have come from Libya.

"Its Sahara borders are porous and the southern areas in particular lack significant government security forces," she said.

"There are also well-founded suspicions that some Islamist groups might have established bases in the south following their departure from Mali."

But Gazzini said it was simplistic to say Libya was solely responsible for the situation, as this "means disregarding the roots of the problem, which are intertwined with Niger's and France's own role in the Mali war".

Najem said the accusations by Niger's president against Libya could be the result of a standoff over its demands for the extradition of Saadi Gaddafi, son of the former dictator, who sought refuge in Niger during the 2011 uprising.

On Wednesday, Zeidan renewed calls for Niamey to hand over Saadi and other officials from the former regime.

Read more on:    international crisis group  |  muammar gaddafi  |  mahamadou issofou  |  france  |  libya  |  niger  |  mali  |  west africa  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Africa
 

Hottie of the day: Charlotte

Meet our hottie of the day, Charlotte. She feels sexiest after a good workout at the gym!

 
 

Men24.com

This is why guys shouldn’t be in photos
BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike
Want to start talking dirty?
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

Good Morning, Mr Mandela by Zelda la Grange

Good Morning, Mr Mandela tells the extraordinary story of how a young woman had her life, beliefs, prejudices and everything she once believed in utterly transformed by the greatest man of her time. Now R221. Pre-order now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You have the ability to lead and take up campaigns that can sway the crowd and make things happen. There can be a slightly...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.