Dyncorp, a US contractor, used former US special forces and CIA agents equipped with armoured vehicles and satellite communications to locate the missiles. “But when we tried to raise the need to take broader measures, their eyes glazed over and they said they were contracted to deal only with the Manpads,” Bouckaert recalled.
US, Britain and France focused on securing anti-aircraft missiles but neglected other weapons, Human Rights Watch says
Urgent efforts to secure anti-aircraft missiles from Libya after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi blinded western governments to the danger of other weapons going missing and fuelling conflicts in Mali and elsewhere, an expert says.
Reliable information about the source of arms being used by Islamist rebels in Mali is hard to come by, but much of it appears to come from Libya. In one striking case, Belgian-manufactured landmines originally supplied to Gaddafi’s army appear to have been used by the jihadi militants who attacked BP’s In Amenas gas facility in Algeria last week.
The US, working with Britain and France, focused on securing shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, known as Manpads (man-operated portable air defense systems). Britain’s Ministry of Defence said last year it had located 5,000 of an estimated 20,000 in Libya.
Peter Bouckaert, of Human Rights Watch, said his organisation had warned of the risks if Libya’s conventional weapons were looted.