At a briefing on Sept. 5, de Kerchove said AQIM has acquired much of
Gadhafi's stockpile of surface-to-air missiles from Libya, Middle East Newsline reported. He said the SAMs
as well as other weapons were smuggled to AQIM strongholds in Mali, Niger
and other countries in the region.
"They gained access to weapons, either small arms or machine-guns, or
certain surface-to-air missiles, which are extremely dangerous because they
pose a risk to flights over the territory," de Kerchove said.
Officials said AQIM obtained Gadhafi's arsenal of SA-7, SA-14 and SA-24
shoulder-fired air defense systems. They said the network financed the
acquisitions through arms and drug trafficking as well as abductions
Africa, including Algeria, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
De Kerchove said AQIM was also expanding to the Arabian Peninsula, which
includes Saudi Arabia and Yemen. He said AQIM was also extending its
influence south of the African continent into Senegal.
Officials said EU plans to increase efforts to track AQIM. They said
Brussels would establish counter-insurgency centers in Algeria and
Mauritania as well as help Mali impose order in the north, a haven for Al