The bad-tempered spat between Libya and Algeria stemming from the latter’s lukewarm support for the revolution and subsequent sheltering of prominent . . .[restrict]Qaddafi figures, including his wife, daughter and two of his sons, has been overtaken by high level concerns on both sides at the smuggling of stolen Libyan arms across the border and terrorist activity.
As a result, a visit by Libyan interior minister Fawzi Abdelal to his Algerian counterpart Daho Ould Kablia is expected in the coming week. Libya Herald has learnt that this encounter may well be the precursor to a wider rapprochement which will see Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia visit in the near future.
The Algerians remain unhappy that the control of the Libyan side of the border has been relaxed since the revolution. They have complained of a string of incidents. In January, a senior Algerian local government official was seized by unknown attackers and taken across the border into Libya, only to be released a day later. The Algerians believe that the group responsible was linked to Al Qaeda in Northern Africa. This month, following a tip-off from an arrested smuggler, Algerian security forces discovered a large cache of weapons close to the Libyan border. These included deadly Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS), of which the Qaddafi regime once had more than 20,000.
The northern sector of the Libyan side of the Algerian border is in the control of the Jadu Brigade, one of the more efficient and disciplined of Libya’s revolutionary militias. With their base in Ghadames, the largely Amazigh members of the brigade have worked hard to police the border as well as the interior areas for which they found themselves responsible.
The Libyan Interior Minister told Reuters the fact that Algerian security forces had found weapons caches was testament to good cooperation with their Libyan counterparts.
Western governments are keen for regional states to work more closely together to combat insurgents in the Sahara desert. [/restrict]