UN warns of Sahel spillover from Libya turmoil

Armed civilians clash with Islamist militiamen in Libya's eastern coastal city of Benghazi on November 2, 2014The chaos in Libya, where Islamic State fighters are said to be gaining a foothold, threatens to engulf Sahel countries and must be quickly brought under control, a UN envoy warned Thursday. Ethiopian diplomat Hiroute Guebre Sellassie told the Security Council that the humanitarian and security crises in the band of semi-arid land south of the Sahara desert were worsening, pointing to turmoil in Libya as a key factor. “If the situation in Libya is not quickly brought under control, many states in the region could be destabilized in the near future,” said the UN envoy for the Sahel. Libya has been sliding deeper into crisis, torn by rival governments and parliaments battling powerful militias, despite UN efforts to broker talks on ending the violence.

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