Libya weapons a "continuing concern" for U.S. as EU mulls sending military trainers to help bolster borders

Armed Islamic militants making rounds in Gao, the biggest city in northern Mali, Sept. 21, 2012. ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/GettyImages

KUWAIT CITY The European Union is reportedly considering sending trainers to Libya in the coming months to help the new government secure its borders against arms trafficking.

Despite the millions of dollars the U.S. spent to find and destroy dangerous weapons like anti-aircraft missiles known as MANPADS after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says "it's a continuing concern in that region."

State Department officials believe some of the weapons are making their way to Mali, in West Africa, where al Qaeda-linked fighters have seized a third of the country. But there are also growing concerns some of those weapons will find their way to Syria and beyond.

"We continue to work with our allies in the region to try to take steps to secure these weapons," Panetta told reporters traveling with him to Kuwait.

"But frankly it is still a cause for real concern that these weapons manage to make their way across borders and get in to the hands of those who would obviously use them for their own purposes. That includes MANPADS and it includes other weapons a well."

"You can certainly find these weapons distributed to groups or terrorists who we think represent an even more dangerous threat in the area."

  • Cami McCormick

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