La croix – Interview with Ahmedou Ould Abdallah « 

 

 The fall of Gaddafi should stop the illegal trafficking in the Sahel Sahel » 

 

 

 

Back in Mauritania after many missions around the world as special envoy of UN Secretary General, particularly in Somalia from 2007 to 2010, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah has created a new policy center dedicated to the safety of the Sahel Sahara (4 S Centre ) with headquarters in Nouakchott.

The fall of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will it change the situation in the Sahel Saharan Africa?

Ahmedou Ould Abdallah – Muammar Gaddafi has supported separatist movements or release worldwide on behalf of the « third way universal. » But it is in the Sahel Saharan his influence was most felt. Because of the fragility of many of these ة results, it has distributed grants to one or the other camp at the option of changing presidents. His fall is expected to stabilize the economy in the sub region that has so far relied on illegal traffic (goods, cigarettes, drugs, smuggling, etc..) Transit through the Libyan ports.

Is it true that he has hired mercenaries among the Tuaregs of Mali?

AouldA – not only in Mali but also in Niger, Chad among the Toubou, and to a lesser extent in Mauritania. At first he called his « Arab Legion ». It was composed of at least a thousand men. Most has been naturalized in the 70’s and, hence, their children have remained faithful to the « guide of the revolution. » They are excellent fighters. Although many have returned to their home countries, they continued to fight for it unlike most other Libyans.

The various branches of AQIM that are present in this region will they emerge stronger?

AouldA-Gaddafi has always opposed the grip of Al Qaeda in the region. Also, the Salafist GSPC emirs, Mokhtar Bel Mokhtar, or as Abdelmalek Droukbal, who control an area between southern Algeria, northern Mali to Chad and through Niger and, too, Mauritania, will henceforth have free rein. The Tuareg pro-Gaddafi could join them or engage themselves in traffic if they do not to work. But this is unlikely given their ideology.

Should we fear the emergence of an Islamic state?

AouldA – No, especially after the death of bin Laden … While Al-Qaeda has « franchised » and that there now is continuity between Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Chad and now Nigeria with the movement Boko Haram . The greatest danger for these results is not ة Islamism. Rather, corrupt governments that continue to practice tribalism and refuse transparency in business. It is they who make the bed of Al Qaeda. The main challenge facing the new Libyan government is to avoid falling back into nepotism or trafficking of all kinds.

Should we welcome the departure of Mogadishu Somali Shebab that you claim they are infiltrated by Al Qaeda?

AouldA – The most determined fighters Shebab are foreigners. They had to leave because of the domestic industry « Baidoa » who wants to stop the famine. It is possible they are trying to be a new offensive in Mogadishu or in Somaliland. Otherwise, nothing precludes a return to the United Nations in Mogadishu. Yet, some 1,200 UN officials involved in Somalia are reluctant to leave Nairobi. As does the return will not happen, international aid will continue to be diverted.

Why do you think of the « religious fund » fueling Al-Qaeda in Somalia and elsewhere?

AouldA – In Somalia, the first source of funding for groups infiltrated by Al Qaeda is piracy. But they also finance with the zakat that is to say the income tax the rich Muslims in the Middle East. The greatest danger is that foreign Shebab, which were down 25 kilometers from Mogadishu and the port of Kismayo, taking advantage of the chaos prevailing in Libya to come and settle in the Sahel Saharan Africa.

 

    Interview by Christine Holzbauer

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