Iptables broken; does not load shared libraries for conntrack

My firewall needs iptables to match 'state' and to have target MASQUERADE.
The kernel modules are present but iptables-1.6.1 lacks the userspace shared libraries to use them.
Can see lots of and all the needed shared libraries (.so) compiled in source/build_dir/target-mips_24kc_musl/linux-ar71xx_generic/iptables-1.6.1/ipkg-install/usr/lib/iptables but they don't make it into the image.
conntrack is not selectable from menuconfig and should be always there but it isn' t. The kernel modules are all present and loaded, it's the userspace stuff that is missing.

Any suggestions how to get iptables installed with its shared libraries?