Chad Spoils of the Saharan Sands

Defeated Libyan troops leave a trove of weapons behind

At the Ouadi-Doum air base, the stench of death was overpowering. Inside the onetime Libyan stronghold, which was overrun by Chadian troops in March, the unburied bodies of five Libyan pilots lay in a pit. Nearby, some 30 Soviet and Czech jet fighters, half of them unscathed, glittered in the sun. The aircraft were a small part of the advanced Soviet bloc weaponry that the forces of Libya's Colonel Muammar Gaddafi left behind as they fled. The value of the abandoned materiel, along with the base itself and Libyan armaments lost in other desert battles, was estimated at nearly $1 billion.


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