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Social Issues
Human Rights Watch Finds Lots of Abandoned, Unguarded Weapons in Libya
October 25, 2011
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Following the death of Moammar Gadhafi , Libya's future looks uncertain. The national security advisor for the country's transitional government says "we are looking for democracy in our future. And we are going to do our best to [achieve] that." At the same time, the announcement by interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil that Shariah law will be the "basic source" of legislation in the country is causing concern in the international community - although he has since claimed that Libya's version of Shariah will be "moderate".

Another cause for concern is the vast stockpile of weapons that are lying unguarded around the city of Sirte. Peter Bouckaert, the Emergencies Director for Human Rights Watch (HRW), explores an unguarded weapons storage facility about 100 km south of Sirte in this video:

Among the things he found: several dozen surface-to-air missiles, capable of taking down aircraft from the ground, still in their packaging. Empty surface-to-air missile boxes, with the missiles themselves apparently taken. Tank shells and mines which Peter says can be used to create car bombs and suicide bombs.

Bouckaert points out that HRW has been "ringing the alarm bell since February about these weapons on the loose", speaking to the interim Libyan government, individual rebel commanders, European governments and the U.S. State Department, "because these weapons really do represent a threat to the peace and security not just of Libya but of the entire region". Other commentators are also expressing concerns.


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