Niger Justice Minister Marou Amadou said on Wednesday that the country needs help policing more than six million square meters of desert along its border with Libya.
Gadhafi’s former security chief and one of his sons, along with at least two former generals, have all crossed the border into Niger on what the government calls humanitarian grounds.
He said it is an explosive situation as members of the ousted Gadhafi government flee fighters backing Libya’s interim ruling council.
He added that Niger needs aerial surveillance, good intelligence and information. All of that costs a lot of money for a poor and indebted country such as Niger, which perennially suffers from food crises.
Gadhafi’s son Saadi is now under a kind of house arrest in the capital, Niamey.
Amadou said the expense of increased patrols along the northern border is holding back the development agenda of Niger’s new civilian government. And at the same time, the flow of arms across the Sahel could further destabilize a region where al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists are already active.
He said even before the fighting in Libya, the border situation was difficult for Niger. It is well known that al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb is operating across the Sahel from Mauritania to Algeria, Niger and Mali. Amadou says security is further complicated by drug trafficking, banditry, and kidnapping in an area that the government of Niger cannot control.
Gaddafi’s wife, Safiya, his daughter, Aisha, and his sons, Hannibal and Mohammed are all in Niger.
Meanwhile, the whereabouts of Gaddafi himself continue to remain a mystery.