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Why Niger is so ambivalent about Qaddafi loyalists' arrival

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Luc Gnago

(Read caption) Immigrants, who are fleeing the unrest in Libya, unload their belongings in Agadez, northern Niger, on Sept. 15.

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Several pieces in the last few days have reported on the different sentiments that exist in Niger regarding the presence of former Libyan ruler Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s lieutenants and supporters in Niger. The ambivalence that characterizes the Nigerien population’s feelings toward the Libyan conflict also seems to extend to the Nigerien government, whose policies toward post-Qaddafi Libya are somewhat mixed.

The BBC gives a street-level view from the capital, Niamey, of Nigeriens’ attitudes toward the influx of Qadhafi loyalists:

[A water-seller] says Niger has “no choice but to host them because they are Muslims”.

“Islam says one cannot deliver a Muslim brother to their enemies,” he says.

“But we fear that weapons might enter our country along with former Tuareg rebels,” he adds.

Al Jazeera, meanwhile, has a video report from the northern city of Agadez showing Tuaregs pledging support for Qaddafi.

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