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In Libya, You Can Buy An Anti-aircraft Gun On Facebook

Gently used anti-aircraft machine gun— truck included. (Reuters/Saad Shalash)

Flying the “friendly skies” of Libya… reports:

An online marketplace for illicit weapons is thriving in the Middle East and North Africa, according to a study released today that found sales of heavy machine guns, rocket and grenade launchers, and anti-aircraft guns on private Facebook groups in Libya.

During his 40-year reign, colonel Muammar Gaddafi stockpiled an estimated $30 billion worth of weapons. At the time, the arms trade was strictly regulated and the country had limited access to the internet. (Libya is still the only country where connection speed is on average less than 1.0 Mbp.) Since his overthrow and death in 2011, those weapons have been flooding into the local marketplace, and increasingly finding their way online.

The Small Arms Survey, an independent research project that monitors arms sales, believes this trade via social media started in 2013 and is still growing. Sellers posted photos of their wares in groups like the “Libyan Firearms Market” (now taken down). Heavy machine guns went for an average of 8,125 Libyan dinar ($5,900), rocket launchers for 9,000 Libyan dinar, and an anti-aircraft system, the Russian-made ZPU-2, got offers for 85,000 Libyan dinar, or $62,000.

Gives you that safe, warm fuzzy feeling, doesn’t it?

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