UNITED NATIONS - Weapons are spreading from Libya at an "alarming rate," fueling conflicts in Mali, Syria and elsewhere and boosting the arsenals of extremists and criminals in the region, according to a UN report published on Tuesday.
The report by the UN Security Council's Group of Experts - who monitor an arms embargo imposed on Libya at the start of an uprising in 2011 which ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi - said the North African state had become a key source of weapons in the region as its nascent government struggles to exert authority.
Libyan government security forces remain weak and militias, made up of former rebel fighters, hold power on the ground.
"Cases, both proven and under investigation, of illicit transfers from Libya in violation of the embargo cover more than 12 countries and include heavy and light weapons, including man-portable air defense systems, small arms and related ammunition and explosives and mines," the experts wrote in the report.
"Illicit flows from the country are fueling existing conflicts in Africa and the Levant and enriching the arsenals of a range of non-State actors, including terrorist groups," according to the 94-page report, which was dated Feb. 15 but published on Tuesday.