[Marxism] Tuaregs urged to stay in Libya, abandon Gaddafi

Jeff meisner at xs4all.nl
Wed Sep 7 16:10:08 MDT 2011


Tuaregs in Libya urged to support new regime

	September 06, 2011 	

NIAMEY: Leaders of the Tuareg people in Niger and Mali are urging countrymen who fought in Muammar Qadhafi’s army to stay in Libya and rally to its new rulers rather than head south to their fragile, poverty-stricken homelands.

The return of thousands of armed Tuareg fighters could, they fear, be devastating to a region which has suffered years of rebellions and is now struggling to counter local Al Qaeda allies plying the lucrative trade of foreign hostages.

The Tuareg leaders said they won assurances from Libya’s interim council early last month that Tuareg members of the regular army would not be targeted, but noted that they and other Africans in Libya still faced the threat of reprisals.

“We do not doubt our partners in (Libya’s) National Transitional Council (NTC) or their will to move forward, but war is war ... there are always uncontrollable elements,” said

Ibrahim Ag Mohamed Assaleh, a Malian parliament deputy for the northern town of Bourem.

“The NTC must be up to the task, and above all prevent score-settling,” Assaleh, head of a “contact group” of 13 prominent Malian and Nigerien Tuaregs in touch with the NTC, told Reuters in the Nigerien capital Niamey.

Assaleh, said his group was using its contacts in Libya to urge Tuareg fighters in the few remaining pro-Qadhafi bastions such as Sabha in the south-west to lay down arms and back the NTC “without bloodshed.”

Fathi Ben Khalifa, Netherlands-based member of the anti-Qadhafi Libyan Working Group, confirmed that he was working with both the NTC and Tuareg leaders outside Libya to protect Tuaregs in the country.

“A lot of the Tuareg people were involved with the Qadhafi military so our friends from Mali and Niger, they are helping us to solve the problem,” he told Reuters by telephone.

“A lot of young people were involved with Qaddhfi. They received some orders from officers and they just obey,” he said, adding that many had since defected and fewer than 100 Tuaregs were believed to be still fighting for Qadhafi.

Assaleh predicted it would take two to three weeks before greater law and order was restored in Libya and the violence against Tuaregs and other Africans abated.

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