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Tue Sep 02 06:14:56 SAST 2014

It's up to Africa to rid Libya and its neighbours of arms

The Editor, The Times Newspaper | 30 January, 2012 01:28

The Times Editorial: The removal of Muammar Gaddafi, which was meant to bring about peace in Libya, seems to have caused problems for neighbouring countries.

The biggest problems faced by both Libya's new rulers and the region is the proliferation of weapons.

Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib called yesterday for a regional security conference to look at the problem.

A report by the United Nations last week pointed out that the Libyan civil war, which was sponsored by the US, France and Britain, might have given militant groups such as Boko Haram, in Nigeria, and al-Qaeda, access to weapons.

Speaking to heads of state at the African Union summit in Ethiopia, al-Keib said: "[There is] still a real threat from some of the armed remnants of the former regime who escaped outside the country and still roam freely. This is a threat for us, for neighbouring countries and our shared relations," he told African Union leaders in Addis Ababa.

"My country calls for a regional security conference in Libya of interior and defence ministers of neighbouring countries," he told the summit, the first since Gaddafi's death last year.

With no clear programme to disarm those who took part in the Libyan civil war, and the Western countries now focusing on Iran and its nuclear programme, it seems Africa and the Libyan region will have to find their own solutions to rid the area of arms.

With the continuing killings in Nigeria and Kenya , it seems the removal of Gaddafi will have dire consequences for the continent.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Islamist sect Boko Haram has killed at least 935 people since it launched an uprising in Nigeria in 2009, including 250 in the first weeks of this year.

The AU heads of states gathering this week should unite to protect Africa from outside ventures that destroy stability.

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Tue Sep 02 06:14:56 SAST 2014 ::