Tue Sep 6, 2011 8:28pm GMT
NIAMEY, Sept 6 (Reuters) – Niger’s interior minister denied on Tuesday that hundreds of Libyan vehicles had crossed into the country, saying that, to his knowledge, only the head of Muammar Gaddafi’s security brigades and his family had been welcomed in the country.
French and Nigerien military sources said earlier on Tuesday that a convoy of 200-250 Libyan military vehicles, including officers from Libya’s southern army battalions, had crossed into the country on Monday.
Interior Minister Abdou Labo confirmed that security chief Mansour Dhao had been allowed to enter the country on humanitarian grounds, but said he was the only Libyan official to have been received.
“To my knowledge, there have not been hundreds of vehicles that crossed into Niger,” Labo said at a press conference in Niamey.
Labo also said that, to his knowledge, Gaddafi was not in Niger.
The U.S. government on Tuesday urged Niger to detain senior officials from the Gaddafi government who it believes crossed into the country in a convoy from Libya. (Reporting by Himadou Amadou; writing by David Lewis; Editing by Jon Boyle)