Top Gaddafi official gets Niger govt role

2012-03-08 17:34

Niamey - Niger has given Muammar Gaddafi's former chief of staff a diplomatic passport and an advisory role in government, sources said on Thursday, a move likely to worsen Niger's fraying relationship with Libya's new leaders.

Bashir Saleh Bashir was one of Gaddafi's top aides who also ran Libya's investment fund for the ousted leader. He was given the passport in late December after being named a Niger presidential adviser, two top police officials told Reuters.

"A diplomatic passport was issued to Bashir Saleh Bashir, who was named adviser to the presidency," one of the police officials said, asking not to be named.

Niger's bi-weekly L'Evenement said the passport stated Saleh was born in Niger's northern town of Agadez in 1946. A Niger government spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Tensions have risen between Niger and its northern neighbour Libya since rebels toppled Gaddafi's regime in August. Niger has received about 230 000 refugees from Libya, some of whom fought alongside Gaddafi's forces, and has also granted asylum to Gaddafi's son Saadi.

Neither Saadi nor Bashir are being sought by the International Criminal Court. Niger's government warned its people last month they could be targeted by roving militia if they travel to Libya.

Migrant workers from Niger, one of the world's poorest countries and which faces near-annual food shortages, have for years sought employment in oil-producing Libya.

Libya's new government has pressed Niger to extradite Saadi, saying his call on February 10 for Libyans to prepare for a "coming uprising" threatened ties.

Niger pledged to tighten its surveillance of Saadi but said he could not be handed to a state where he might be executed.

Saleh was regarded as one of the ex-Libyan leader's most powerful advisers. For several years he was chairperson of the Libyan African Investment Portfolio, an arm of the country's sovereign wealth fund.

  • Douglas - 2012-03-08 18:08

    Perhaps Niger should be removed from the list of African countries that are all too willing to accept Aid from donors? If they can indulge this despots deputy, they don't deserve our money, or food, or anything else.

      Fred - 2012-03-10 07:16

      Thanks Patrick. Keep up the good work. You're consistently showing the wrong end of the thought-spectrum with great clarity and precision.

  • Moss - 2012-03-08 18:14

    Why doesnt NATO come to the party and house some of the 230000?

      Fred - 2012-03-08 19:31

      NATO is a military alliance. It's not a country.

      Fred - 2012-03-10 07:21

      Thanks again Patrick. Excellent. Russian and Chinese regimes have the worst human rights records of any country on Earth, having killed TENS OF MILLIONS of their own citizens. They are currently among only 17 countries out of the 151 on earth that are enabling the butchering of Syrian civilians and families by the UNELECTED dictator Bashar Assad, who's family has been in power for 48 years without allowing Syrians the basic human right to vote. This is the same as the Apartheid regime.

      Miguel Capelo - 2013-06-03 13:30

      Thanks Fred Fraser Chanting Russia and China as champions of human rights is like giving speeding tickets at a F1 race. Stupid and pointless. The Libyan people's money is being used to prop up his position.... everyone knows that. How can anyone even argue this?

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