France acknowledged on Wednesday that it had begun dropping arms to rebels in Libya. - AP Photo

MALABO: African leaders are concerned by French arms deliveries to Libyan rebels, fearing weapons could end up in the hands of terrorists, according to a top official.

Ahead of a two-day African Union (AU) summit here from Thursday, AU Commission chairman Juan Ping did not criticise France directly but said he was worried by weapons proliferation.

France acknowledged on Wednesday that it had begun dropping arms to rebels in Libya while Nato ally Britain said it would not follow suit over concerns about UN Security Council authorization.

“What worries us is not who is giving what,” Ping said late Wednesday.

“It is simply that these weapons are being given by all parties to all the other parties. These weapons are already reaching al Qaeda, drug dealers and traffickers. They will be used to destabilise African states and to kidnap tourists for whom you pay ransom.” He said the arms deliveries could backfire on the governments who supply them.

“If these arms are found in the desert it is a problem for everybody, for you (Westerners) as well. The people who are being kidnapped (by terrorists) are Westerners,” said Ping.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb, the North African branch of the terror organisation, has been holding four French hostages since September last year as well as an Italian woman kidnapped in February.

Opinion

Editorial

A call for bloodshed
30 Nov, 2022

A call for bloodshed

The state has wasted precious time by not consolidating its success in pushing TTP out of its strongholds in the north.
Missing childhoods
30 Nov, 2022

Missing childhoods

THE fact is that despite some legal efforts to end the curse of child marriage taking place in Pakistan under the...
Unemployment concerns
30 Nov, 2022

Unemployment concerns

THE ILO finding that labour market recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Pakistan, as in many other...
Back to politics
Updated 29 Nov, 2022

Back to politics

PDM and PTI must realise that neither will get what they want if they keep fighting bitterly at every turn.
Election delay
29 Nov, 2022

Election delay

OF recent, leaders from the ruling PML-N have been dropping hints about a possible delay in general elections after...
Sugar woes
29 Nov, 2022

Sugar woes

IT’S that time of year again when cane growers get anxious over the delay in the commencement of the new sugar...