On Monday, Special Representative of the United Nations for Mali, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, said that NATO’s disregard of calls made by African countries not to militarily intervene in Libya in 2011 caused the illegal proliferation of about 60 million small arms to neighbouring Sahel countries.
Annadif’s statements came during the African Peace and Security Annual Conference (APSACO), which tackled Covid-19 and security in Africa.
NATO’s role in the proliferation of weapons
Speaking about the situation in Mali, the UN official considered that the crisis had worsened in this African country after the 2011 crisis in Libya, adding that the African Union (AU) had opposed NATO’s decision to intervene and assassinate the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. These calls were unheeded, and Sahel countries have become an open-air arsenal of weapons.
Annadif also pointed out to the proliferation of more than 60 million small arms in the African Sahel region. He noted that the deployment in Mali of militants leaving Libya during the NATO-led uprising, worsened the crisis in this African country.
He added that 3 million Chadians, who were living in Libya, have moved to the Sahel region, including Niger and Mali, due to the closure of their country’s border at that time.
The influx of fighters from Libya
Annadif also stressed that thousands of armed fighters and terrorists who took part in the war in Libya have poured into Mali over previous years.
A number neighbouring countries to Libya stress the need to reach a political solution to the crisis there. They consider that the security situation in the North African country affects its neighbours and the Sahel region, which was confirmed earlier by Algerian Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum.