The Niger government has warned it citizens not to travel to Libya. It said on Sunday that because of rising tensions . . .[restrict]they might be targeted by Libyan militias if they do so.
It was reported that two Nigeriens were killed and 11 other injured on Friday when their vehicle overturned following a car chase in the Libyan desert. According to the Niger authorities, it was the latest “attack” on Niger immigrants in the country.
Relations between the countries have been strained ever since Saadi Qaddafi escaped to Niger last September and the Niger government then offered him asylum on “humanitarian “ grounds. Two Libyan requests for his extradition, the latest earlier this month, have been refused by Niamey.
Last week, NTC leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil warned that relations with neighbouring states would suffer if they did not extradite prominent members of the Qaddafi regime. He did not mention any names but no one was in any doubt that he was referring to Niger as well as to Algeria, which ahs given refuge to Saadi’s mother, sister Aisha and brothers Mohamed and Hannibal.
According to a statement on Nigerien radio, “the minister of foreign affairs … and the minister of public security strongly discourage travel to Libya because of attacks by independent and uncontrolled militias.
“Both departments recommend strongly to the Nigerien youth to refrain from the temptation of migration to Libya until the security and economic situation becomes more stable and reassuring,”
Niger claims that Saadi is under house arrest. However, that did not stop him doing an interview with Al-Arabiya TV earlier this month when he claimed that Libyans were going to rise up against the NTC and he was ready to return to lead them.
The broadcast served to rally Libyans in support of the revolution and the NTC, It also hardened public opinion against Niger, with protests at the Niger embassy in Tripoli.
Niger has said that it would extradite Saadi to the Internationl Criminal Court in The Hague if it issues proceedings against him, but not to Libya because it claims he could be executed here.