Ministerial meeting among Libya’s southern neighbors to discuss border security

Libya’s southern neighboring countries will hold a ministerial meeting in Niger’s capital Niamey on Dec. 14 to discuss security issues at their shared borders.

The foreign and defense ministries of Libya, Sudan, Niger and Chad as well as some security agencies will explore means to combat transnational organized crime in the Sahel, based on the agreement signed in August by the four countries to control and monitor joint southern borders. The meeting will also shed light on possible solutions to the Libyan crisis.

This is the fourth ministerial meeting among the four countries, as the most recent one was held in August in Khartoum. In the meeting, a judicial cooperation agreement was signed to secure their borders. They also agreed to set up an operations center in the Chadian capital N’Djamena to combat terrorist groups, smuggling and human trafficking.

Political instability in Libya after the collapse of Muammar Qaddafi’s regime has led to the spread of organized crimes including smuggling of weapons and drugs alongside illegal migrants and terrorist groups through the lawless, vast deserts of Libya’s southern borders.

These borders are shared with Chad in the south, Sudan in the southeast and Niger in the southwest.

Extremist groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic state (IS) involved in terrorist activities in Libya spread in this border region, while farther south in Niger on the border with Nigeria, the local terror group, Boko Haram, threatens the area.

To control the southern region, Libya, Chad, Sudan and Niger signed on May 31 in N’Djamena a security protocol to cooperate in improving cross-border security by targeting transborder criminal activities and smuggling.

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