Who gets Qaddafi's cash? African nations crushed by wars he funded want some.
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi trained and funded men - like Charles Taylor - whose reigns of terror in Liberia and Sierra Leone led to the death of hundreds of thousands of West Africans.
Freetown, Sierra Leone
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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said earlier this month that those funds should be used “to help the Libyan people,” and Sen. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts says he is already at work on the legislation that will make that happen.
But here in West Africa – where rebels who were trained, funded, and armed by Colonel Qaddafi terrorized citizens for much of the 1990s – some people are saying that a chunk of that money should be set aside for them.
“Over a million Sierra Leoneans and Liberians were killed as a result of the Qaddafi-induced war,” wrote Kofi Akosah-Sarpong, an editor at the London-based Newstime Africa daily’s website earlier this week. “Now is the time for them to get their compensations direct from Qaddafi’s looted billions.”
Qaddafi's role in Liberia and Sierra Leone
Qaddafi’s ties to the region date back to the 1980s, when he was looking to spread his influence across Africa and break off the continent’s ties to the West. He was rumored to have been incensed by Liberia’s cozy relationship with the Reagan administration under Samuel Doe, and by the Western-friendly stance of Sierra Leone’s then-president Joseph Momoh.
So the Libyan leader invited some young, radical-thinking West Africans to visit his “World Revolutionary Center,” a training camp outside the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi that the historian Stephen Ellis has called the “Harvard and Yale of a whole generation of African revolutionaries.” There they learned how to deploy weapons and gather intelligence, and they were immersed in anti-Western ideology.