Thursday, July 08, 2004

Libya Threatens To Bomb Chad If Terrorist Not Handed Over

Chad Rebels holding Amari Saifi claim that Libya has threatened to bomb them if they do not hand him over to Libyan custody within 48 hours, the BBC reports:

Ammari Saifi - known as Abderrezak - is accused of leading a group which kidnapped 32 European tourists in Algeria last year.

"The Libyan secret service gave us 48 hours to hand [him] over ... or said we will suffer the full wrath of Libya's armed forces," a rebel spokesman said.

There has been no comment on these claims from Libya.

Mr Saifi allegedly leads the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which is blamed for abducting the tourists, many of them Germans, and which is also allegedly linked to al-Qaeda.

The Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MDJC) say they arrested him in March but have no means of handing him to the West.
Again, how hard is it to get a Blackhawk to rendezvous with these rebels?

Update 07/09/2004: Last Sunday's Le Journal du Dimanche (link not available) mentions that the handover of Amari Saifi had been secured for US$ 246 000, without specifying who paid the ransom. Apparantly, last Saturday an 'official with a country involved in the situation' told AP that as of last Saturday, so four days before Libya's threats, a deal was in the works for the rebels to turn over Saifi to Libya, which in turn would hand him to Algeria, for a reported sum of US$ 616 000.

Now, I can't believe the Libyans' posture is because they're looking at a possible loss of US$ 370 000. It could very well be that the Chad rebels have done some calculations themselves, and feel short changed, as experience in Iraq and Afghanistan has tought, money is a definite factor. It would be interesting to learn more from the rebels about their refusal, as well as about Libya's extremely forceful reaction to not getting their hands on Saifi.