French offensive in Mali may drive Islamists back to Libya, UN representative says

The U.N.'s chief representative in Libya has warned the Security Council that France's military offensive in northern Mali may drive Islamic insurgents out and across the porous borders with Algeria and back into Libya.

U.N. officials say the hard-line Islamic occupation of northern Mali was partly triggered last year by the downfall of Muammar Qaddafi, as militias controlled by the late dictator fled into Mali with looted heavy weapons, driving back the Malian army.

U.N. special representative for Libya Tarek Mitri says the country's weak control over its vast territory raises the possibility of a threat from "the opposition of armed radical groups to the military intervention in Mali" as well as "the porous borders in Libya."