Locating Libya's looted weapons

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A rebel fighter on top of all the ammo he could load on his truck. (Photo: Derek Stoffel/Twitpic)

Story from PRI's The World. Listen to audio above for full report.

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NATO has helped rebels in Libya gain the upper hand there but one NATO member, Germany, is concerned with how German assault rifles ended up in the hands of Libyan rebels. The rebels looted them from Gaddafi’s arsenals, but Germany said they never made a deal with Gaddafi to sell him the German-made weapons.

The German concerns underscore a bigger worry once the fighting in Libya is over: locating all the weapons looted from Libyan army depots over the last six months.

It was no secret that Muammar Gaddafi had amassed a very well-stocked arsenal. Much of it was state of the art, from the latest assault rifles and surface-to-air missiles to anti-tank systems. When anti-Gaddafi forces started this revolution, one of the first things they did was ransack the Libyan military arms depots in the eastern side of the country.

Now, with the rebels controlling most of the country, it seems every young fighter has a gun.

You see them on almost every corner in the capital Tripoli, at every check-point. In Tripoli, now that most of the fighting is over, the guns are mainly used to celebrate the victory by the anti-Gaddafi forces. But when this revolution is over, what happens to the arsenal of weapons looted from the Libyan Army?

Moustafa Mujber said like most rebel fighters, he plans to hand his AK-47 over to the transitional government. “Please take my gun from me,” Mujber said. “I have no reason to keep it in a drawer any more.”

And from new transitional government comes reassuring words that the guns will all be collected in an orderly fashion.

Read the rest of the story on The World's website.

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PRI's "The World" is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. "The World" is a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston.More about The World.

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