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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 November 2006, 16:24 GMT
Gaddafi in Nigeria airport drama
By Alex Last
BBC News, Lagos

Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi always travels with his female bodyguards
Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has been involved in a diplomatic incident as he arrived in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, for a summit.

Nigerian officials say Col Gaddafi was accompanied by more than 200 heavily armed Libyan bodyguards.

When security officers refused to allow them to keep their weapons, an argument ensued and Col Gaddafi stormed off.

Only when Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo intervened did the bodyguards agree to hand in their weapons.

Foreign ministers from Africa and Latin America have been preparing for the summit which gets under way on Thursday.

The size of Libya's delegation was not a problem, it seems, just the sheer amount of weapons and ammunition they carried.

So Nigerian security refused to let them proceed to the capital.

As arguments raged, the Libyan leader angrily set off on foot, intending to walk some 40km (25 miles) to the capital, before he was persuaded to return to the airport lounge.

Intervention

By sheer coincidence, President Obasanjo was passing through the airport at the same time.

He intervened in person and proposed that the weapons could be allowed through if they were registered first.

But the Nigerians say that was rejected and the Libyan delegation threatened to fly home.

Incensed, the Nigerians said that was fine with them and told the delegation that instead of the original compromise, they could now only carry eight pistols if they wanted to enter Nigeria, like any other diplomatic security detail.

They ordered that the rest of the weaponry had to be put back on the Libyan official jet.

After a stand-off lasting several hours, the Libyans backed down and finally made their way to Nigeria's capital.




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