Perez Rubalcaba said fairly sophisticated weapons from Libyan army forces fighting to keep Moammar Gadhafi in power as rebel forces try to oust him are being sold by traffickers at Libya’s southern border and possibly ending up in the hands of AQMI.

“The Libyan crisis is having an influence on AQMI,” he said. “One that we find particularly negative is the possible appearance of arms from the Libyan army, or what remains of it, in the hands of terrorists.”

The Libyan civil war is giving AQMI potential to increase its influence in the Sahel region, where it is active after having first surfaced in Algeria.