UPDATE 2-U.S. concerned over Libya weapons reaching Al Qaeda

Wed Jun 1, 2011 2:39pm GMT

* U.S. General says proliferation of weapons a real concern

* Al Qaeda North Africa exploiting chaos in Libya

* "Libya is a huge depot of arms", Algeria official said

(Adds quotes of Algerian minister in para 4 and 5)

ALGIERS, June 1 (Reuters) - The United States has real concerns about weapons from Libya ending up in the hands of Al Qaeda, the commander of the U.S. military's Africa Command said on Wednesday.

"There is a very real concern for all the regional partners, and the United States shares this concern, about the proliferation of weapons from Libya to other places, including those under the control of al Qaeda and others," General Carter F. Ham told a news conference.

Libya's neighbour Algeria has said it believes the chaos inside Libya, and the large quantities of weapons circulating there, is being exploited by al Qaeda's North African branch, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

"Libya is now a huge depot of arms...and we know that sophisticated weapons have been transferred from Libya to northern Mali," Algeria's delegate minister for Africa and Maghreb Affairs Abdelkader Messahel told reporters. He did not elaborate.   Continued...

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