UN hears warning: Mali rebels may head for Libya
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The United Nations' (UN) special representative for Libya warned the Security Council on Tuesday that France's military offensive in northern Mali may drive Islamic insurgents out and across the porous borders with Algeria and into Libya.
UN officials, including peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, have said that the Islamist occupation of northern Mali was partly triggered by the downfall of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, as well-trained militiamen fled into Mali with looted heavy weapons, driving back the Malian army.
UN special representative for Libya Tarek Mitri told the Security Council that "the opposition of armed radical groups to the military intervention in Mali may exacerbate the situation (in Libya) given ideological and/or ethnic affiliations as well as porous borders in Libya".
French and African land forces are battling Al-Qaeda-linked Islamists in northern Mali, while a renewed bout of unrest has gripped Egypt following the two-year anniversary of the revolution that toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak.