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Africa North
 Tuareg militias again clash with Islamic State-loyal militants in northern Mali
The Imghad and Allies Self Defense Movement (GATIA) and the Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA) have again reported its fighters have battled with militants loyal to the Islamic State led by Abu Walid al Sahrawi.

According to the joint statement released by the groups, one of their joint patrols engaged in combat with the Islamic State-loyal militants in the Tinzouragan area of Mali’s northern Gao region yesterday. The locale sits close to In-Delimane and the Nigerien borders, an area where the so-called Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) operates. The Tuareg alliance reported that five jihadists were killed, including a high level commander named as Djibo Hamma. Other militants and vehicles were reported captured.

At the same time, France’s Operation Barkhane reported its forces also clashed with suspected jihadist militants near In-Delimane on March 6. It is unclear which group the French troops battled with. While ISGS operates in that area, al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims have claimed attacks on French troops in that area as well.

Africa Subsaharan
JNIM confirms deaths of co-founder, senior leaders in French raids
[LongWarJournal] In its official claim of responsibility for Friday’s terrorist attacks in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) also confirmed the deaths of several of its senior leaders.

According to the jihadist group, the assault on the French embassy in Ouagadougou was in response to the French raids on Feb. 14 between Boughessa, Mali, and Tinzaouatene, Algeria. In that operation, French forces conducted three simultaneous raids, accompanied with airstrikes, which killed or captured over 20 jihadist fighters. JNIM confirmed the death of six of its leaders, including its co-founder, Hasan al Ansari.

Ansari, along with Mokhtar Belmokhtar and Ahmed el Tilemsi, was also a co-founder of Al Murabitoon. He would later become the second-in-command of the al Qaeda-loyal group, before becoming a co-founder and senior leader within JNIM. In the photo above, Ansari can be seen sitting second from the right between Iyad Ag Ghaly and Abu Abdul Rahman al Sanhaji, another Murabitoon official.

JNIM also confirmed the death of two top Ansar Dine commanders, Malik Ag Wanesnet and Abdullah Ag Oufata. Wanesnet, also known as Abu al Tayyib, was a former colonel in the Malian army before defecting to the jihadist cause and becoming a top military commander for Ansar Dine. Oufata was the former mayor of Boughessa, Mali, before he joined the Tuareg jihadist group>Tuareg jihadist group. Ansar Dine joined Murabitoon, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s Sahara branch, and Ansar Dine’s Katibat Macina (also known as the Macina Liberation Front) to form JNIM last year.

Africa North
Algeria lawmaker under fire over 'racist' attack on Berber language
[ALARABY.CO.UK] An Algerian member of parliament has come under fire after she attacked the language of the Berber minority in the North African country with comments that have been widely condemned as racist.

Naima Salhi said in a controversial video posted on social media last month that she would "kill" her young daughter if she spoke Berber.

"My young daughter was in a school where the majority of students are Kabyles so she started to learn their language... I told her if she speaks a word of the language I would kill her," Salhi said.

Salhi explained her divisive
...politicians call things divisive when when the other side sez something they don't like. Their own statements are never divisive, they're principled...
comments on local Ennahar TV on Tuesday, saying: "I refuse to let my daughter speak the fabricated Frenchified Kabyle language taught in the Zionist Berber Academy in Gay Paree."
French and Zionist? Worse than that cannot exist!
"I would kill her if she spoke it... meaning I would severely punish her," she added.

Salhi, who is the head of the Islamist Justice party, has claimed the Berber Tamazight language is a "dead non-language" that lacks the terminology to be used in science and the public sphere.

The Kabyle, who are the largest Berber minority in Algeria, have long called for greater rights with some separatist movements even calling for an independent Berber state.

Salhi's comments have been widely slammed on social media and have led to politicians calling for her resignation.

"We have demanded that the head of parliament take action. This woman cannot be part of a parliament that represents all Algerians," member of parliament Khaled Tazaghart told Ennahar TV on Friday.

Tuareg politician Baba Ali also demanded she resigns for "attacking the culture and identity" of the Berber people, who refer to their community as Amazigh.

The controversy comes amid growing official recognition of the Amazigh people, who make up roughly a quarter of the country's total population.

The Tamazight language was first given official status in Algeria in 2002, a year after bloody riots that left 126 people dead in Kabylie.

In 2016, it became enshrined in the constitution as a state language alongside Arabic.

Last month, the country's interior ministry released its first ever official communique in Tamazight.

In December, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika
... 10th president-for-life of Algeria. He was elected in 1999 and is currently on his third or fourth term. Maybe it's the fifth....
declared Amazigh New Year's a national holiday and called for the establishment of an official authority to regulate the Tamazight language.

The move came after protests in Berber communities over politicians blocking funding for the teaching of the Tamazight language in government schools.

Africa North
Tribal retribution killings in Sebha raise tensions
Tunis, 1 February 2018:

Sebha remains tense after fighting between the Awlad Sulieman and Tebu intensified last night following tit-for-tat killings.

The town is now largely quiet, though occasional shots can still be heard locals told the Libya Herald. Last night saw heavy artillery strikes and extensive gun battles between the two sides, though exact casualty figures are unclear at this stage.

Fighting near the historic Fort, seriously damaged in early 2014, is particularly fierce and has often been a focal point for conflict in the past.

Violence broke out on Sunday when a figure inside a blacked out car belonging to a member of the Awlad Sulieman opened fire on three Tebu at a café. Ahmed Adel was killed and his two friends injured.

The attack took place in Nassirya district in the north of Sebha, an ethnically mixed neighbourhood in comparison to other parts of the town.

Retribution was swift with Tebu brigades killing an army officer and policeman, both understood to be Awlad Suieman.

Events over the recent days underline how the Rome peace deal agreed between the two sides and the Tuareg remains very fragile. Observers have not been optimistic the accord would hold and their cynicism appears well founded.

Presidency Council Deputy Abdulsalam Kajman has often had to step in and mediate when tensions rises between the various groups.

Meanwhile, four members of ISIS were killed and a civilian injured yesterday in Brak Al-Shatti. The ISIS fighters were looking for food on the outskirts of the town but came under attack from locals supportive of the Libyan National Army.


Africa North
Mali: Another Record Breaking Year
[StrategyPage] The UN is threatening sanctions against individuals and groups in Mali if the government and local leaders in northern Mali don’t implement the 2015 peace treaty that ended the war in the north, but has not yet brought peace. To placate the UN and major donors the government has agreed to work things out with the Tuaregs by the end of March. But promises like that have been made before and always broken. The federal government continues to tolerate corrupt practices which includes stealing a lot of the aid money meant for the north and sending officials up there who demand bribes to get anything done. The UN also insists that presidential elections be held on schedule in July and would prefer that the incumbent kept it legal and not another effort to become president-for-life. The president is also under pressure from the UN to a December 2017 order for police to shut down any unauthorized protests. That meant all protests against government corruption and mismanagement were to be attacked and that has created more popular anger, especially from the suppliers of all that foreign aid.
A good background of current Mali situation at the link

Africa North
28 killed in 2 separate attacks in Mali
[AA.TR] At least 28 people, including two Malian soldiers, were killed and several others injured in two separate attacks in Central Mali on Thursday, according to Malian media Friday.

In the first incident, 26 people, including women and kiddies were killed when a vehicle stepped over a landmine in the central part of the country.

The vehicle had left Burkina Faso
...The country in west Africa that they put where Upper Volta used to be. Its capital is Oogadooga, or something like that. Its president is currently Blaise Compaoré, who took office in 1987 and will leave office feet first, one way or the other...
and struck a landmine about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from Boni city in Mali.

No group grabbed credit for the attack.

Separately, in Youwarou, also in Central Mali's Mopti region, Malian armed forces killed seven terrorists, according to a statement from the military.

Two Malian soldiers were also killed in the operation, the statement added.

In 2012, a Tuareg rebellion opened the door for al-Qaeda-linked murderous Moslems to take over the northern half of the country. They were mostly expelled by a French-led operation launched a year later but swathes of the country remain subject to regular attacks that have spread southwards.

In 2015, a peace deal was signed between the government and some bully boy groups.

Political and community disputes continue to fuel tensions in Mali, thus undermining the implementation of the peace agreement.


Africa North
Islamic State affiliate claims Mali attack that injured 3 French soldiers
[EN.RFI.FR] An affiliate of the Islamic State
...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear the pols talk they're not really Moslems....
(IS) gang has grabbed credit for attacks in the Sahel region
... North Africa's answer to the Pak tribal areas...
, including one that injured three French soldiers in Mali on Thursday and an attack in October that killed four US soldiers and three from Niger.

One of the three French soldiers was maimed and flown to La Belle France for treatment after a suicide kaboom on a convoy travelling between Menaka and Indelamine regions.

The attack took place on Thursday, the fifth anniversary of the start of La Belle France's military intervention against armed Islamists and Tuareg separatists in Mali.

"A vehicle approached the convoy and went kaboom! near a VAB [armoured vehicle]," French army front man Patrick Steiger told the AFP news agency.

Three Malian soldiers were also injured on Thursday in an ambush in the northern town of Hombori and a policeman was kidnapped and a cop shoppe looted and set on fire in the north-western town of Lere, the Malian army said.


Africa North
Sebha airport captured by Tebu militia
[Libya Herald] An gang took over Sebha airport today as well as the main army base and a number of checkpoints, although no shots were fired as police protecting them withdrew.

A top-level source in Sebha said the group came with 12 cars, guns and ammunition.

"They said to me ’we have people we want to work in security in the airport’. I said they had to contact the police. If they are not police we will not accept them," he told the Libya Herald.

"We withdrew because we don’t want people to destroy the airport. This is a civil airport. We will make a solution with them, hopefully peaceful," he added.

Another source said the group was the Sukour al-Sahra ("Desert Eagles") Brigade, the Tebu militia led by Barka Shedemi, which has been based in Qatrun and which has been mounting patrols on the southern borders. Previously Shedemi has been understood to have 200 vehicles at his disposal.

Shedemi recently announced he was blockading the southern border in an effort to halt migrant trafficking.

Any move into Sebha by Shedemi could well result in renewed violence in a town that in the past three years has seen festivities between Tebus and Tuaregs, between Tebus and the Awlad Suleiman tribe and between the Awlad Suleiman and the Qaddadfa tribe. Shedemi is said to have a longstanding hatred of the Qaddadfa.


Africa Subsaharan
Malian soldiers killed in French strike had joined Islamists.
[AlAhram] Malian soldiers killed by a French military strike in northern Mali last month were deserters who had joined an Islamist turban group, a French source close to the matter said on Tuesday.

That contradicted comments from the Malian Defence Ministry, which said on Monday that the soldiers killed in the Oct. 23 strike, a raid on a camp of the Ansar Dine
...a mainly Tuareg group that controlled areas of Mali's northern desert together with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and MUJAO in early 2012...
turban group, had been its hostages.

The French source said the raid was carried "on the basis of detailed intelligence against a camp that included Malians who had joined the Islamist ranks. They were hit, amongst others."

"They were not prisoners," the source told Rooters, declining to say how many were killed or captured in the raid.

The source accused Malian authorities of spreading propaganda in the run-up to presidential elections, which are scheduled for November 2018.

A French defence ministry source added: "We have a real trust problem with the Malians."

Malian officials were not immediately available for comment.

The French army previously said that 15 members of Ansar Dine, which is loosely affiliated to other turban groups operating in northern Mali, were taken "out of action" in the raid.

The Malian government is struggling to contain Tuareg and Islamist violence in the country's north, some of which is spreading south. Attempts to place officials in northern towns have sometimes failed, raising questions about the government's ability to maintain stability ahead of the elections.

Islamist Lions of Islam seized northern Mali in 2012 and French forces intervened a year later.

Around 4,000 of its troops remain in West Africa's Sahel region
... North Africa's answer to the Pak tribal areas...
as part of Operation Barkhane, a cross-border anti-terrorism operation.

La Belle France has also been at the forefront of organising a regional force as part of efforts to find a long-term strategy to exit the region.

Africa North
French Army Kills 15 Mali Jihadists
[AnNahar] The French army said Thursday it had eliminated an "armed terrorist group" linked to al-Qaeda in northern Mali, killing 15 jihadists.

Army front man Patrick Steiger said troops from La Belle France's regional Barkhane anti-terror operation carried out a joint strike against the group with French special forces about 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of Kidal.

The operation, backed by fighter jets and helicopters, took place overnight Monday.

It "allowed us to take 15 members of this katiba out of action", Steiger said, using a local word for a Death Eater unit.

The group was a branch of Ansar Dine
...a mainly Tuareg group that controlled areas of Mali's northern desert together with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and MUJAO in early 2012...
, which has links to the regional al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI) group, he added, saying weapons and ammunition including assault rifles and grenades were destroyed in the raid.

La Belle France has had some 4,000 soldiers deployed in the Sahel region
... North Africa's answer to the Pak tribal areas...
-- a vast stretch of territory on the edge of the Sahara Desert -- since 2014.

The announcement in Gay Paree came as the Mali-based branch of al-Qaeda, Nusrat al-Islam wal Moslemeen, claimed an attack in the north that killed two soldiers.

U.S. monitoring group SITE said the claims were made on the Telegram messenger channel of the group's so-called al-Zallaqa Media Foundation.

The creation of Nusrat al-Islam wal Moslemeen was announced on March 2 as a fusion of Ansar Dine, the al-Murabitoun of Mokhtar Belmokhtar and the "Emirate of the Sahara," a branch of AQMI.

Africa North
Gunmen attack Ubari peacekeeping brigade
[Libya Observer] An unknown gang attacked Tuesday night the personnel of Brigade 456 that is working as a peacekeeping entity in Ubari, southwestern Libya.

The gang used 8 vehicles in the attack as they opened fire on the brigade personnel who were positioned at the Ubari hospital at 11.00 pm, according to the commander of the Brigade 456 Khalifa al-Saghir, who spoke to Bawabat al-Wasat Wednesday.

Al-Saghir added that the brigade personnel exchanged fire with the button men until they bravely ran away, saying there were no casualties as what happened was merely a vandalism act that aimed to destabilize the city, which has been secure after the end of the armed conflict.

Brigade 456 of the Border Guard was appointed to secure Ubari and to play as a peacekeeping entity between the conflicting parties in February 2016.

Ubari saw armed fighting for some periods since late 2014 and up to the beginning of 2016 between Tubu and Tuareg tribes, leading to massive damage in Gunmen attack Ubari peacekeeping brigadethe city as well as displacement among the residents. However,
some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them...
a ceasefire was put in place and Brigade 456 was tasked with making sure peace prevails among the conflicting parties in Ubari.


Africa North
Water stops in Tripoli as Qaddafi militants now threaten to blow up gas pipeline
[Libya Herald] The water supply in Tripoli
...a confusing city, one end of which is located in Lebanon and the other end of which is the capital of Libya. Its chief distinction is being mentioned in the Marine Hymn...
and the sounding area has one again stopped after a pro-Qadaffy militia in the south of the country carried out its threat to turn off the valves the Man-Made River valves if its leader were not released by the Rada ("Deterrence") forces of Abdul Raouf Kara.

Al-Mabrouk Ahnish, a member of the Magarha tribe from Brak al-Shatti, was captured at the beginning of the week in the Wirshefana area along with several Sudanese fighters and handed over to Rada. He is being held at Mitiga. Three days ago, Mabrouk’s brother, Khalifa Ahnish, threatened to stop the Man-Made River water supply to Tripoli if al-Mabrouk were not released within 72 hours. The deadline has now expired.

In a separate video, forces of Evil threatened to blow up the gas pipeline in the south heading to the Mellitah oil and gas complex and from there feeding into the Greenstream pipeline to Italia if Mabrouk Ahnish were not freed.

"They’re quite capable of doing it," said one member of the tribe. "Ahnish is quite crazy and doesn’t care about anyone in authority," he added, warning that the situation could escalate even further if there were not immediate negotiations. But he doubted whether Kara would free him.

Khalifa Ahnish has appeared in yet another video claiming that he and his fellows were not mercenaries unlike, he said, those supporting Khalifa Hafter and other forces in the country. He was with Ali Kani, he said. However,
the difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits...
Kani, the pro-Qadaffy Tuareg commander based in Obari, is now reported to be denying that the Ahnish brothers have anything to do with him.


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