Reverend condemns Nato strikes in Libya

The Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) has condemned the ongoing air strikes in Libya by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato).

Speaking during a public forum on social ethics held at St Augustine University in Mwanza Region last week, the secretary of the Commission of Justice of the Catholic Secretariat of the TEC, Rev Fr Vic Missiaen, said the Libyan problem could not be solved by air strikes.

“The conflict in Libya arises from tribalism which Nato and the United Nations does not understand,” he said. According to Fr Missiaen, the African Union (AU) was the only institution, which has the mandate and power to solve the Libyan problem as a continental organ and due to its understanding of African tribalism in general and Libya in particular.

Unfortunately, he said, despite the mandate and power the AU has, the organ remains weak for lack of the military strengths compared to Nato and the UN. Libya has 140 ethnic groups where Mr Muammar Gaddafi draws his military from three prominent ones, the Warffalah, Magariha and Gaddafi.

Late last month, Mr Gaddafi sent ministers to African Union talks on the Libya conflict, which also included European Union (EU), the UN and Arab League representatives as the continent seeks to lead the way out of the crisis. The five-member team from Tripoli turned up for the talks following an invitation from AU Commission chairman Jean Ping, but an invitation to the Libyan opposition to attend was not taken up.

Mr Ping said the AU, which is opposed to foreign military intervention, wants to "facilitate dialogue between the Libyan rivalry parties" and that it favours putting in place an "inclusive transition period that will lead to the elections of democratic institutions."

[Source: The Citizen, Tanzania, 19Apr11]

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