Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Libyan conflict casts shadow

By He Wenping (China Daily) Updated: 2011-09-03 07:48

The spread of guns, violence and terrorism due to recent war poses great challenges to security and stability in Africa

The six-month military conflict in Libya is drawing to a close as rebel forces have fought their way into the capital of Tripoli and captured the heavily fortified Bab al-Aziziya compound, a pivotal symbol of Muammar Gadhafi's military regime.

Although rebel forces have failed to find Gadhafi, the 42-year rule of the Libyan strongman is undoubtedly coming to an end and no large-scale counterattacks are expected.

However, Libyans, NATO and the international community should not ignore the negative impacts the conflict has had on neighboring countries as they shift their focus to the post-Gadhafi era.

On Aug 26, a United Nations headquarters in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, suffered a suicide car bomb attack, causing 18 deaths and more injured. Boko Haram, an Islamist military organization in the populous African nation, claimed responsibility for the blast, the first time it has attacked an international body since its establishment in 2004.

The terror attack shattered the tranquility Abuja has enjoyed over the past two decades. The newly built Nigerian capital has a better urban layout, road conditions and power facilities than Lagos, Nigeria's former capital and largest port city. Abuja also had a reputation among major African cities for good security.

The same day, two suicide bombs were detonated outside a military academy in Algeria, also killing 18 people.

Undoubtedly, the explosions in Nigeria and Algeria, which came as Libya's rebel forces were engaged in intense fighting with Gadhafi loyalists, had a connection with the Libyan situation. The war has caused a lot of weapons to spread across the region. This, together with Gadhafi ordering the opening of Libya's arms depot to civilians and the reported circulation of 10 tons of mustard gas and hundreds of scud missiles and their carrier vehicles, will pose a huge risk to the security of neighboring countries.

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