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US Libya''s NTC forces searching, destroying Qaddafi''s weapon stockpile

WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (KUNA) -- American contractors and Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) forces are searching for caches of surface-to-air missiles remaining from the deposed Libyan Leader Muammar Qaddafi's stockpiles, the State department confirmed Friday.
"We are engaged in -- with and working cooperatively with the Transitional National Council to address some of the proliferation concerns, both of conventional arms as well as chemical weapons. We do have an ongoing contract and programs," said state department spokesman Mark Toner to reporters in Washington.
"Our contractors have destroyed a number of MANPADS, man-portable air-defense systems, I think under 10 MANPADS, but we have no way of confirming what all -- what the TNC and others have -- and may on the ground have destroyed," he added.
Since the outbreak of fighting in Libya, US officials have been concerned about the proliferation of weapons-especially an estimated 20,000 of Qaddafi's shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles in the country-and worried that small arms, ammunition, and explosives could be smuggled out of the country and fall into the hands of those planning terrorist attacks.
The contractors "are all generally guys with military backgrounds, with specialization in explosive ordnance disposal," the spokesman said. "They're going to be embedding with Transitional National Council teams ... to get out there, sweep the stockpiles, look for the MANPADS, get those secured, and secure the depots". (end) hy.bs KUNA 162255 Sep 11NNNN