Sen. Lugar to lead arms control experts to Africa

U.S. Senator Dick Lugar will lead a host of Pentagon arms control experts to secure biowarfare threats and destroy lethal arms in Africa next week.

“Deadly diseases like Ebola, Marburg, and Anthrax are prevalent in Africa,” Lugar told “These pathogens can be made into horrible weapons aimed at our troops, our friends and allies, and even the American public. This is a threat we cannot ignore.”

Lugar, the Ranking Member and former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senator Sam Nunn developed the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program in late 1991 to secure and destroy nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in the republics of the former Soviet Union.

Through their efforts, Lugar said it was learned that many pathogens used in creating biological weapons during the Cold War came from Africa.

“Those weapons are being destroyed," Lugar said, according to "Now we have to secure their sources. Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are active in Africa, and it is imperative that deadly pathogens stored in labs there are secure. Building cooperative programs with African countries are in our mutual security interests, and will also have the humanitarian effect of identifying and controlling new diseases that could quickly spread around the world.”

Lugar and the Pentagon team will inspect laboratories in Kenya and Uganda. The labs, which are used to diagnose infectious diseases to help prevent outbreaks, have been found to have insufficient security.

The team will also venture into Burundi, where experts from the State and Defense Departments are working with the government to destroy large numbers of small arms and light weapons, including shoulder fired surface to air missiles, rocket propelled grenades and AK-47s.