Qaddafi influence seeps into W. Africa?
Events are bringing home to the government of Nigeria the potential for mischief that Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi has achieved with so-far successful military intervention in neighboring Chad.
Just as Libyan-provided, Soviet-built weaponry was giving victory to the forces of Chad's President Goukhouni Woddei in the long-drawn-out civil war in that country, Islamic fundamentalists were going on the rampage in the important northern Nigerian city of Kano.
The fundamentalists are of a sect of migrants who have come into northern Nigeria from Chad and Cameroon. They have non-traditional weapons (that is, guns rather than spears and bows-and-arrows), the possible origin of which raises suspicions.
Violence first erupted in Kano a week ago. But according to Lagos radio, the trouble had not ended by Dec. 23, and Nigerian President Shehu Shagari (himself a Muslim) consequently had issued orders to the Nigerian Air Force to be prepared to help bring the situation under control.
These orders were being given while a summit meeting of 12 members of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was in session in Lagos considering the situation in Chad. The meeting originally had been summoned to consider the effectiveness of an earlier OAU call for the cease-fire in the Chad civil war.
But what the African leaders found themselves faced with was a cease-fire other than the one intended -- one achieved by the weight of Libyan intervention on the side of Mr. Woddei. The latter's rival, former Defense Minister Hissein Habre was put to flight.
Opening the Lagos summit Dec. 23, the OAU President, Sierra Leone's head of state, Siaka Stevens, said (without specifically mentioning Libya) that in Chad the "foreign presence must be eliminated."