April 4, 2011
Al-Qaida is exploiting the conflict in Libya to acquire weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, and smuggle them to a stronghold in northern Mali, a security official from neighbouring Algeria told Reuters.
The official said a convoy of eight Toyota pick-up trucks left eastern Libya, crossed into Chad and then Niger, and from there into northern Mali where in the past few days it delivered a cargo of weapons.
He said the weapons included Russian-made RPG-7 anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades, Kalashnikov heavy machine guns, Kalashnikov rifles, explosives and ammunition.
He also said he had information that al-Qaida’s north African wing, known as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), had acquired from Libya Russian-made, shoulder-fired, Strela surface-to-air missiles known by the Nato designation Sam-7.