“I don’t have specific information about this convoy, but what is clear is that all the Sahelian countries had relationships with Libya and benefited from Libya, and if Burkina Faso has offered asylum, it’s likely that some of Qaddafi’s people are moving to Burkina Faso,” says Thierry Vircoulon, a Sahel expert for the International Crisis Group’s office in Nairobi, Kenya.
Qaddafi’s ties with the arid nations south of the Saharan desert go deeper than mere financial support. They extend back several decades, when several of the present leaders of Sahelian countries were still rebel leaders, desperately seeking arms, logistical support, and training. Qaddafi provided these.
Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Campaore once trained in Libyan military training camps, before overthrowing the government of his predecessor Thomas Sankara in 1987. Chad’s President Idriss Deby once scraped together a ragtag force of fellow ethnic Zaghawa fighters, before overthrowing then-President Hissene Habre in a Qaddafi-supported insurgency.