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Monday, September 12, 2011

Niger Fears an Influx of Gaddafi Loyalists.


Niger Fears an Influx of Gaddafi Loyalists.   

So far, they have had to contend with only a thin trickle of loyalists making their way across hundreds of miles of desert to the bare-bones towns in northern Niger, including one of Colonel Qaddafi’s sons, a handful of his generals and his security chief.
But officials here in one of the world’s most impoverished nations — the third from the bottom on the 2010 United Nations Human Development Index ranking of 169 countries — emphasized that the diplomatic awkwardness of allowing the former government’s dignitaries here was nothing compared with the influx they feared with somewhat more urgency each day the Libyan conflict was drawn out.
“If there is a negotiated solution, we won’t get the worst case,” said Massaoudou Hassoumi, the chief of staff to Niger’s president, Mahamadou Issoufou. “Unfortunately, it looks like that won’t happen. So, it looks like there will be armed men. If they don’t hand over their weapons, we will disarm them.”
“What’s happened so far is very minimal,” Mr. Hassoumi added.
Colonel Qaddafi’s son Saadi — one of the less politicized of his progeny — is believed to have arrived in Niger on Sunday night. The three generals have been in a hotel in the central desert town of Agadez, the first major agglomeration after the frontier. Colonel Qaddafi’s security chief, Mansour Dhao, is in the capital, Niamey, and is “under surveillance,” Mr. Hassoumi said.

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