With Algerian authorities still combing through the aftermath of last week’s hostage siege at the Amenas gas plant, which led to the deaths of scores of foreign hostages, a surprising fact about the hostage takers’ armaments has been revealed.
According to officials, the arms came from Libya. And by and large not the looted arsenal of the former Gadhafi regime, whose armaments have left the entire region awash in weapons, but rather the modern gear provided by GCC member nations to the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) and associated rebel groups, who have since been installed by NATO as the government of Libya.
The attackers fought their way onto the heavily guarded site wielding the same AK104 weapons that were the gun of choice for the Libyan rebels, and even wearing the yellow flak jackets provided to the NTC by the Qatari government.
The Libyan Civil War and the subsequent free-for-all of arms looting has driven many conflicts in the region, and the rebels in Mali are by and large armed with looted Gadhafi regime weapons. This is the first time weapons provided to the NTC have turned up in a foreign conflict however.