CORRECTED-Fourteen dead as Niger clashes with convoy from Libya

Wed Nov 9, 2011 5:21pm GMT
 

(Corrects location of Arlit in second paragraph)

* Clash on Sunday with armed convoy from Libya

* Sahel governments fear instability from Libyan war

NIAMEY, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Niger's army has clashed with a heavily armed convoy of vehicles that entered its territory from Libya, killing 13 in the convoy and suffering one casualty on its side, military sources in the West African country said on Wednesday.

The sources said Nigerien authorities took 13 prisoners after the incident, which took place on Sunday around the remote northern Nigerien mining town of Arlit, just south of the border with Algeria.

"I understand it was a convoy of pro-Gaddafi Libyans guided by Malian Tuaregs," said one army officer who declined to be named, adding that some members of the convoy had fled.

Niger's government said late on Tuesday there had been a clash, without specifying that the convoy had come from Libya, where forces loyal to slain leader Muammar Gaddafi have been routed by NATO-backed rebels now in control of the country.

The government statement said Nigerien forces had seized arms including 36 assault rifles, 11 machine guns, three rockets and over 11,000 cartridges of different calibres.

Hundreds of thousands have fled Libya south into Niger and neighbouring Mali in past months. The vast majority are migrant African workers who had settled in Libya, but authorities have also signalled the return of some armed pro-Gaddafi fighters.   Continued...

 
Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.