Niger asks help fighting terrorism

2011-09-19 13:00

Geneva - Niger needs help training and equipping its security forces to deal with potential terrorism in the aftermath of the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's government in neighbouring Libya, Niger's president, Mahamadou Issoufou, said on Monday.

Addressing a World Trade Organisation conference in Geneva, Issoufou said Niger wanted a speedy end to the conflict in Libya because of its impact on trade, immigration and security.

Three convoys carrying important members of Gaddafi's entourage have fled to Niger this month, including Saadi, one of Gaddafi's sons, Gaddafi's security chief and at least two top generals, all of whom are now in the capital.

Niger has voiced concern that weapons plundered from the Libyan conflict could fall into the hands of al-Qaeda's North African wing and other rebel groups who are already established in the region.

Niger has called for international help with intelligence-gathering and aerial surveillance to secure its six million square kms of northern desert, where Nigerien forces have clashed twice this month with suspected al Qaeda members.

"There have been concerns for security because weapons have been circulating in the country and we're concerned these will fall into the wrong hands," Issoufou told the conference.

Niger's security forces need help to deal with "terrorist activity that might develop in the sub-region", he said, adding that terrorism could develop from poverty.

Asked about Gaddafi's whereabouts, he said: "I don't know, but he's not in Niger, that's for sure."

Niger exports uranium and gold, plans to begin crude oil production by the end of this year, and intends to use the income from its natural resources to develop the country's socio-economic fabric, he said.

At present there is no trade between Libya and Niger, and Libyan investment in a telecoms project and a road project has stopped, he said. More than 200 000 migrants have returned to Niger because of the Libyan conflict.

"Niger finds itself a bit alone in the face of this problem. Our country needs to be able to make itself safe. This is not just for Niger, it's also a contribution to security around the world," the president said.

  • Mxhuma - 2011-09-19 18:35

    NATO should go and bomb Niger in order to protect innocent civilians.

  • Kwena Mogopa - 2011-09-20 09:13

    These are the split-offs of the Nato aggression in Libya,they have even armed the wrong people,Those who will distabilise the whole region and probably the whole of Africa.Niger has every right to protect it own border.They took the wrong approach though openning the door to the West and its allies again.They should ask for help fron SA and AU,we will oblige for sure.PetroSA and Sasol are here to solve their oil problems and deliver on their needs.Al Qaeda se foot man,there is no such.Its US inteligence scaring us again.KILL THEM ON SIGHT!

  • matubeng - 2011-09-20 10:36

    hahahhaaaa!!! Niger needs the services of the former 32 Battallion and they'll really feel safe. Our guys are experienced and are currently doing nothing, they should be making money for themselves around unstable African countries like Niger. Why can't we South Africans be selfish for sometimes. If US, Britain, and others could send their army boys to other conflict ridden countries, why can't we do the same. If we were to use the guys who were in the apartheid forces under the umbrella of AU, no one will claim they are mercenaries. South African government wake up. I am sure they would be in Lybia hitting the rebels very hard on behalf of our brother leader.

  • pages:
  • 1