Algerian Minister: 'Libya has become open-air arms market'

 @ibtimes
on June 02 2011 6:53 PM
Libyan Arms
Rebel army officers fix weapons taken from forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi at a workshop in Benghazi REUTERS

Algerian authorities are attributing a surge in terrorist attacks to ongoing conflagrations in neighboring Libya.

Libya has become an open-air arms market, said Abdelkader Messahel, the Algerian minister on Maghrebi and African affairs at a press conference yesterday.

There are many arms circulating in this country that are being transferred from conflict zones, the minister explained.

In the past two months of intensified warfare between Libyan rebels and Gaddafi forces, Algeria has experienced two major terrorist attacks, believed to be perpetrated by the Islamic Maghreb, Al Qaeda's North African organ.

In May, seven soliders were killed in an attack against a military post in Algeria's Jijel region. In April, some 30 officers in the Algerian security forces were killed in Tizi Ouzou, Boumerdes and Bouira.

According to several experts, the state of disarray in Libya would enable members of the Islamic Maghreb to obtain a variety of weapons, the most destructive of which are solar missiles.   

The minister also said that Algeria has abided by the UN Security Council's arms embargo, and has only supplied Libyans with food staples, although Algeria would support the Libyan National Transitional Council in Benghazi with dual-use products like fuel, if necessary.

Despite the Jasmine Revolution in neighboring Tunisia, and the ongoing conflict in Libya, protests against 12-year rule of president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, of the National Liberation Front that officially ousted former French colonists,  have been relatively scarce.

 

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