Africa

Libya chemical weapons: Components leave for Europe

RFA Mounts Bay (top left), with a Danish warship, escorts a Danish transport vessel through the Mediterranean, 31 August 2016 Image copyright Danish Ministry of Defence
Image caption The Danish vessel (R) is transporting the last known materials believed to pose a chemical threat

A Danish ship loaded with materials that can be used to manufacture chemical weapons has left Libya and is making its way to Germany.

The ship, escorted by UK and Danish naval vessels, was despatched as part of international efforts to remove dangerous stockpiles from the country.

Libyan chemical weapons were destroyed under global supervision in 2014.

But the presence of hazardous materials in the strife-torn country has caused international concern.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the UK and its international partners were taking "practical and effective action" to eliminate the risks of chemical attacks in Libya.

The items on board the Danish vessel travelling through the Mediterranean are believed to be the last known materials to pose a threat.

Libya has been beset by chaos since Nato-backed forces overthrew long-serving ruler Col Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011, leading to a power vacuum and instability.

Western powers have since become increasingly concerned after so-called Islamic State (IS) built a presence in the North African state.

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