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Europe must reinforce African armies or 'move': Niger

by Staff Writers
Rome (AFP) Oct 15, 2010
European countries must reinforce north African armies battling Islamist militants or the security situation will deteriorate and they will be forced to move, a senior Niger official said Friday.

"When speaking of security, Europe thinks of closing up, securing the interior and the borders, but the principal security of Europe is the security and development of Africa," said Amadou Marou, president of the National Consultative Council that is managing the country's political transition following a military coup in February.

His comments follow the kidnapping last month of five French nationals, a Madagascan and a Togolese from an uranium mining town in Niger by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

AQIM, which has exploited the vast spaces of the Sahara desert and Sahel scrubland to stage attacks in a number of countries in the region, is believed to be holding the prisoners in a mountainous desert region in northeastern Mali.

"Somalia got away from us and northern Mali is in the process of getting away from us," said Marou, speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of a meeting organised by the lay Catholic community Sant'Egidio.

"If the Europeans don't reinforce security in this area, they'll have to move," he added.

North African counter-terrorism experts held two days of meetings this past week with their G8 counterparts on how to step up regional cooperation and battle Islamic militants linked to Al-Qaeda.

"The Sahel is very fragile, fertile ground for all sorts of terror and trafficking," said Marou.

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Niger junta leader says no arrests: regional official
Niamey (AFP) Oct 15, 2010
Niger junta leader Salou Djibo told regional representatives Friday that no members of the ruling junta had been arrested, a day after confusion over the fate of the regime's former deputy leader. "We told the head of state, General Salou Djibo, that there are a lot of rumours about who has been arrested, who hasn't been arrested, and he reassured us that at the moment there haven't been any ... read more

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