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Africa Subsaharan
JNIM confirms deaths of co-founder, senior leaders in French raids
2018-03-06
[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. 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.
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Africa North
Islamist militants kill two, kidnap others in Mali army camp attack
2017-06-18
[AlAhram] Two soldiers were killed and others kidnapped Saturday after jihadists attacked a military base in northern Mali, a local official and a resident told AFP.

"Around five o'clock, the jihadists attacked the military camp at Bintagoungou," some 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Timbuktu, the official said.

"At least two soldiers were killed and many others were kidnapped. All the camp's military material was ransacked," he added.

A resident added that "there are no Malian soldiers to be seen -- the camp has been laid waste. The jihadists left with military hostages."

An army source confirmed the attack to AFP without giving any details.

Northern Mali continues to fall prey to jihadist attacks with four people having died in an assault on UN peacekeepers near their base in Kidal earlier this month.

The Group to Support Islam and Moslems, also known as Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Moslemeen in Arabic, a fusion of three jihadist groups with previous al-Qaeda links formed in March, claimed that attack.

Led by the Malian jihadist Iyad Ag Ghaly, a former leader 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...
Islamists, the group has claimed multiple attacks on domestic and foreign forces since its formation, notably the 12,000-member MINUSMA UN force.

MINUSMA began operations in 2013, providing security to and assisting Malian troops in a region which fell to jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda in March 2012.

Although a French-led military intervention the following year drove the groups out of key towns, they have since spread further south in the troubled West African nation.

The unrest has continued despite a 2015 peace deal between the government and Tuareg-led rebels offering partial autonomy to the north.
Link


Africa North
Macron heads to Mali to reaffirm French commitment to battle jihadists
2017-05-20
[AlAhram] President Emmanuel Macron undertakes his first trip as commander-in-chief on Friday when he meets troops fighting Islamist forces of Evil in Mali where the security situation has worsened despite French intervention more than four years ago.

The Sahel, a politically fragile area whose remote desert spaces spanning from Mauritania in the west to Sudan in the east host a medley of jihadist groups, is seen as vulnerable after a series of attacks in recent months.

That has been brought further to light after a spike in violence across Mali, where the former colonial power intervened more than four years ago to drive out al Qaeda-linked forces of Evil who hijacked a rebellion in 2012 by ethnic Tuaregs and attempted to take control of the central government in Bamako.

Macron, a newcomer to international diplomacy, put counter-terrorism at the top of his security priorities during the election campaign, vowing to strengthen support for West African allies.

"Emmanuel Macron made the commitment during the campaign to immediately go and see troops engaged in the fight against terrorism," said a senior French diplomat.

The trip to Gao, where some 1,600 troops are based and where he will also hold talks with Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, will reaffirm Gay Paree' engagement, in stark contrast to his predecessor Francois Hollande
...the Socialist president of La Belle France, an economic bad joke for la Belle France but seemingly a foreign policy realist...
, who began his term pulling troops out of Afghanistan.

After sending troops to Mali, La Belle France has since spread some 4,000 soldiers across the region to hunt down Islamists,
...that would be Operation Barkhane, named after a crescent-shaped dune in the Sahara desert. They are faced off against the local branch of Al Qaeda in North Africa in its latest iteration announced this March, being a compilation of the Tuaregs of Ansar Dine, al-Murabitoun, led by Algerian myrmidon Mokhtar Belmokhtar, and the Macina Brigades of central Mali: The Group to Support Islam and Moslems headed by Ansar Dine's Iyad Ag Ghaly. The other heads are now emirs, at least until clashing egos force a new formation...
while United Nations
...an idea whose time has gone...
' peacekeepers have been deployed to ensure Mali's stability.

However,
it was a brave man who first ate an oyster...
the U.N.'s forces have lacked equipment and resources, making a political settlement between Tuaregs and the government in Mali increasingly fragile and paving the way for Islamists and traffickers to exploit a void in the north of the country.
No doubt the UN forces have been doing their bit to increase fragility, given the habits of most of the contributors: corruption, s3xual exploitation, and a lack of fellow feeling for those outside their tribe.
"Our objective in the short-term is to help the regional armies control their territory, especially the fragile border zones," said the diplomat. "The grinding of the peace processor is not going fast enough even if there is a glimmer of hope."

French officials acknowledge that Gay Paree is likely to have to keep its forces in the region for an indefinite period.

Diplomats said Macron wanted to fine-tune policy to ensure countries were also given more help to develop rather than just focusing on security aspects.

With La Belle France shouldering the bulk of European military operations overseas, and in particular in Africa, officials said the trip would also be an opportunity to outline his desire for a greater European role, something that La Belle France has been pushing for years, but with few tangible results.

"The Franco-German engine must give Europe impetus to play a bigger role in crucial dossiers such as the African Sahel," the diplomat said.
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Africa North
Rocket attack on UN camp in Mali kills one, wounds 9
2017-05-04
[AlAhram] Shelling and rocket fire on a UN camp in Mali's troubled Timbuktu killed one yet to be identified person and maimed nine peacekeepers, the United Nations
...a formerly good idea gone bad...
mission said Wednesday.

It is the latest attack to hit the mission, known as MINSUMA, stationed in the country since 2013 and considered its most dangerous active peacekeeping deployment.

"A mortar and rocket attack was launched against the MINUSMA camp in Timbuktu," a UN statement said.

"The provisional toll is nine maimed among the peacekeepers, four seriously who are being evacuated to Bamako. The attack also killed one person, they are still being identified," it added.

The UN mission said it had reinforced the camp's defences and deployed air cover to identify where the enemy fire had originated, describing it as a "terrorist" attack.

Sweden's armed forces confirmed one of its soldiers was maimed, though not severely. "A Swedish soldier was lightly injured and is now being cared for by the Swedish medical unit," it said in a statement.

Liberia's armed forces, who also have peacekeepers among the mission, also confirmed "several injuries and other casualties", according to Prince Johnson, deputy chief of staff, but would not specify more.

"We are investigating the matter," he added.

Northern Mali fell to Islamist Lion of Islam groups linked to al-Qaeda in March 2012, and although these forces were driven out of key towns by a French-led military intervention the following year, the Islamists have now spread further south.

The 13,000-strong UN mission was deployed to provide security and assist Malian troops struggling to keep the country safe, but it has been targeted constantly by Islamist Lion of Islams, with dozens of peacekeepers killed.

Three Malian Islamist Lion of Islam groups with previous al-Qaeda links recently joined forces to create the "Group to Support Islam and Moslems" (GSIM), led by Iyad Ag Ghaly 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...
, and have killed Malian soldiers further east near the 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...
border.

Nine Malian soldiers were killed and five maimed Tuesday, an attack that has become near routine in the country's north and centre.
Link


Africa North
Three jihadi groups active in Mali announce merger
2017-03-12
For information, the latest iteration of Al Qaeda-linked groups in Mali. They're as bad as Toad the Wet Sprocket in that part of the world.
[La Belle France24] Three jihadist groups operating in the Sahel region
... North Africa's answer to the Pak tribal areas...
of Africa have merged to form one single organization, Mauritania’s private news agency ANI said Thursday, citing a video distributed by the Islamists.
Video of the announcement can be seen at the link, for those curious about the current appearance of the miscreants.
Among the groups joining the merger south of the Sahara are Mali’s Al Qaeda-linked 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...
and al-Murabitoun, led by Algerian myrmidon Mokhtar Belmokhtar.
...apparently the vicious, one-eyed cigarette smuggler is not dead yet, despite reports last November that the French had killed him.
The new movement will operate under the name the Group to Support Islam and Moslems, and will be led by Ansar Dine’s Iyag Ag Ghaly, ANI said, adding that it had received the video Wednesday.

The Macina Brigades group, active in central Mali, has also joined the merger.

"It is very particular to see them all together," said Wassim Nasr, La Belle France 24’s expert on jihadist movements.

ANI distributed a screenshot of the video showing five jihadist leaders seated together, with Iyad Ag Ghaly in the centre.

The four others were identified as the "emirs" of the new movement.

"What they are doing here is also against 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....
in the region, which is gaining in force," Nasr said. "They are confirming their presence there."

The ability of such key players in local terror groups to meet freely is notable. "It shows that it is impossible to monitor this huge region militarily and even with technical means," said Nasr.

In an audio excerpt Iyad Ag Ghaly can be heard swearing allegiance to slain Jordanian jihadist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi ‐ whose Al Qaeda in Iraq group later evolved into the Islamic State group ‐ and Ayman al-Zawahiri
... Formerly second in command of al-Qaeda, now the head cheese, occasionally described as the real brains of the outfit. Formerly the Mister Big of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Bumped off Abdullah Azzam with a car boom in the course of one of their little disputes. Is thought to have composed bin Laden's fatwa entitled World Islamic Front Against Jews and Crusaders. Currently residing in the North Wazoo area assuming he's not dead like Mullah Omar. He lost major face when he ordered the nascent Islamic State to cease and desist and merge with the orthodx al-Qaeda spring, al-Nusra...
, Al Qaeda’s current leader.

He can also be heard praising Al Qaeda founder the late Osama bin Laden
... who doesn't live anywhere anymore...
, who was killed in Pakistain in May 2011.

It was not clear when the video was recorded, though ANI said it was "recent".

All three groups already had ties to Al Qaeda, and were involved in an onslaught that saw northern Mali fall out of government control for nearly a year from spring 2012.

The snuffies were later expelled from the region by a French-led international military intervention.

Nonetheless large swathes of northern Mali continue to come under attack from jihadist groups.

The area is also seen by governments battling the jihadist threat as a launchpad for attacks against other countries in the region.
Link


Africa North
Former Mali Rebel Leader Killed in Mine Explosion
2016-10-10
Filed under Page 3: Non-WoT because the gentleman is a former leader now connected to the UN effort.
[AnNahar] A leader of a former rebel group in northern Mali was killed Saturday by a mine kaboom in Kidal in the country's north, military and ex-rebel sources said.

Cheikh Ag Aoussa's car "was hit by a mine and he was struck down in his prime" after he left the office of the U.N.'s MINUSMA mission, according to an African military source who is part of the deployment.

"He was attending a meeting, then as he went to go home he was accidentally killed," the source added.

The former rebel Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), which controls Kidal, confirmed his death and called for an "independent inquiry."

"Among the theories, there is that of an attack and a boom-mobileing," CMA member Mohammed Ag Oussene told AFP.

An official in Kidal also said Aoussa was killed by a mine.

A Tuareg from the Ifoghas tribe, Aoussa was the number two in the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA), one of a myriad of gangs in northern Mali.

The HCUA was formed mainly by dissident elements of al-Qaeda-linked 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...
, one of the jihadist groups that occupied parts of northern Mali in 2012, throwing the country into chaos.

Aoussa had joined Ansar Dine as the rebellion broke out and served as right-hand man to its leader Iyad Ag Ghaly.

He broke away in 2013 -- just after the French-led intervention to halt the jihadists' onslaught -- to join a different group that would later become the HCUA.

Mali last year concluded a peace deal between the government, its armed proxies, and Tuareg-led rebels who have launched several uprisings since the 1960s. The deal's implementation has been patchy.

Kidal has been rocked by deadly fighting for control between gangs which were party to the peace deal.

The fresh unrest has sparked international concern, with U.N. Secretary General the ephemeral Ban Ki-moon saying in a report published this week that the pro-government groups and former rebels involved in the festivities should potentially face sanctions.

The report warned of serious failings in the U.N.'s mission in Mali as it loses vital equipment and faces a rising threat from Lion of Islams.

The ongoing international military intervention that began in January 2013 has driven Islamist fighters away from the major urban centers they had briefly controlled, but large tracts of Mali are still not controlled by domestic or foreign troops.
Link


Africa North
ISIS in Libya ‘could relocate’ from Sirte
2016-07-20
To a "better firing position", no doubt
[ENGLISH.ALARABIYA.NET] UN Secretary-General the ephemeral Ban Ki-moon warned that ISIS fighters could set up new cells across Libya and north Africa as they are driven from their stronghold of Sirte.

Ban on Monday outlined the threat from foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) in Libya in a confidential report to the Security Council, obtained by Agence La Belle France-Presse.

"The recent pressure against ISIS (ISIS) in Libya could lead its members, including FTFs, to relocate and regroup in smaller and geographically dispersed cells throughout Libya and in neighboring countries," Ban said in the report.

The defeat of ISIS fighters in Sirte "appears to be a distinct possibility", leading many to flee south as well as west, to Tunisia.

"The future impact of scattered ISIS combatants on southern local gangs may become an issue of concern," he said.

Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government 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...
have been battling to take Sirte from ISIS fighters for the past two months.

The coastal city is considered one of ISIS's most important rear bases outside of Syria and Iraq.

There are between 2,000 and 5,000 ISIS fighters from Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Mali, Morocco and Mauritania deployed in Sirte, Tripoli and Derna, according to the report.

Dozens of imported muscle from Tunisia have returned home from Libya "with the intent to conduct attacks," it added.

The ties extend further afield, with funds from Libya sent to Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, a jihadist group that operates in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, the report said.

Ban said Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which is active in Mali and across the Sahel region
... North Africa's answer to the Pak tribal areas...
, continues to use Libya as a sanctuary and a base to buy arms and ammunition.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, leader of the Al-Mourabitoun group active in the Sahel, is able to travel throughout Libya with relative ease while the head 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...
in northern Mali, Iyad Ag Ghaly, maintains a foothold in southern Libya, the report said.

Link


Africa North
5 U.N. Peacekeepers Killed in Mali Attack
2016-05-30
At least five U.N. peacekeepers were killed in an ambush in central Mali by suspected turbans on Sunday, the U.N. and police sources said.

The attack is the first time the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, has recorded fatalities in the center of a country long beset by violence in its vast and desolate north.

"According to preliminary information, five peacekeepers were killed. Another was seriously hurt and is being evacuated," MINUSMA said in a statement.

The U.N. did not immediately confirm the nationality of the dead soldiers but a Bamako police source indicated a group of Togolese peacekeepers "came across a mine and a terrorist attack some 50 kilometers out of Mopti."

First reports had indicated four Togolese peacekeepers were killed in the mid-morning attack on a MINUSMA convoy some 30 kilometers (20 miles) west of the town of Sevare in Mopti region.

MINUSMA mission head Mahamat Saleh Annadif condemned the attack as an "odious" act of terror.

"I most strongly condemn this abject crime which adds to other terrorist acts targeting our peacekeepers and which constitute crimes against humanity under international law," said Annadif.

Sunday's attack came just two days after authorities reported five Malian soldiers killed and four maimed Friday when their vehicles hit a mine in the north and then came under sustained fire.

Last week also saw five peacekeepers from Chad killed and three others maimed in an ambush in the northeast by Ansar Dine jihadist fighters.
Formally Harakat Ansar al-Dine, "movement of defenders of the faith", Ansar Dine is a Salafist jihadi group established by longtime Tuareg rebel leader Iyad Ag Ghaly in early 2012. It is associated with Al Qaeda in North Africa through Ghaly's cousin Hamada Ag Hama, and has trained Boko Haram cadres. Ansar Dine has received support from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It first came to our attention when it conquered Timbuktu alongside the secular MNLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad) in 2012, requiring French military intervention to drive them out. Several groups have joined and split off from Ansar Dine and each other before and after, associated with various leaders and tribal groups: AQIM-affiliated Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA or Mujao), anti-AQIM Islamic Movement for Azawad (MIA), Signed-in-Blood Battalion (Mourabitounes) -- the AQIM-affiliated part led by Algerian Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the ISIS-affiliated part led by someone else -- and others too short-lived to mention. All engage in the usual kidnapping for ransom, drug running, and other traditional jihadi activities, and have appeared with boring regularity in our archives.
The Mali mission is the most dangerous active deployment for U.N. peacekeepers and it has been hit by sharp internal tensions since its launch in July 2013.

With Sunday's attack, at least 64 MINUSMA peacekeepers have been killed while on active service, while another four have died in friendly fire incidents, U.N. figures show.

The north has seen repeated violence since it fell under the control of Tuareg-led rebels who allied with jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda in 2012.

The Islamists were largely ousted by an ongoing French-led military operation launched in January 2013, but they have since carried out sporadic attacks on security forces from desert hideouts.

Rival armed factions and smuggling networks mean the region has struggled for stability since Mali gained independence from former colonial power La Belle France in 1960.
Link


Africa North
Key Jihadist Leader Arrested in Southern Mali
2016-04-03
[AnNahar] Southern Mali's suspected jihadist leader has been locked away
Yez got nuttin' on me, coppers! Nuttin'!
by special forces and transferred to the capital Bamako, security sources said Thursday.

"Souleymane Keita, the top jihadist leader in the south of the country, was arrested a few days ago on the Mauritanian border, and transferred to Bamako on Wednesday," a security source said.

Another security source said the arrest, near the town of Sokolo, followed the capture of one of his allies a few months ago in the center of the country.

"He was about to head to Timbuktu, probably to meet up with his mentor Iyad Ag Ghaly in the Kidal region" in north-east Mali, the source said, referring to the Tuareg leader of the Islamist Ansar Dine group.

Malian intelligence has said Keita and Ag Ghaly fought side by side in 2012 when jihadist forces seized the vast northern stretches of Mali.

But when French troops stepped in to oust the Islamists in January 2013, Keita headed south to his native region to set up a new group, the Khaled Ibn al-Walid "katiba", meaning combattant unit.

The group, also known as "Ansar Dine of the South", has some 200 fighters, a Malian security source said.

In March 2015, security services accused him of heading a jihadist military training camp discovered outside Bamako.

Keita was also accused last year of attacks in Fakola and Misseni near the Ivory Coast border and of "terrorist attacks" in the capital.
Link


Africa North
Mokhtar turns to propaganda to boost image
2013-09-04
[MAGHAREBIA] As part of a struggle to improve his name since losing his al-Qaeda command, terrorist Mokhtar Belmokhtar just released a "greatest hits" video of his freelance work in Mali, Algeria and Niger.
How cute! Only, isn't that the kind of thing that shows up on late night teevee on that other channel after our hero has been reduced to the not-main stage in Las Vegas for a decade or several?
The video sent Sunday (September 1st) to Mauritanian daily ANI shows members of Belmokhtar's "Signed in Blood Brigade" and El Moulethemoune katibat ("Brigade of the Veiled Ones") training for Sahel operations.
Do they dive through flaming hoops? That's awfully popular at the Hamas summer camps... or perhaps rappel down buildings like the Iranian Women's Corp in full and flowing veils?
The 51-minute video marks the first time that Belmokhtar (aka Khaled Abou El Abbès, or "Laaouar") has been seen since the president of Chad reported him as killed in northern Mali.
'E's not dead yet, 'e's just restin'...
On the new video, Belmokhtar is shown giving instructions for the twin suicide boom-mobileings at a military camp in Agadez and a uranium mine in Arlit. The Niger attacks killed at least 20 people.

The MUJAO and al-Mua'qi'oon Biddam -- Laaouar's group -- grabbed credit for the Niger violence, saying the actions were to avenge the February killing of Al-Qaeda brigade commander terrorist Abdelhamid Abou Zeid by international forces in Mali.

Laaouar appears on the tape training fighters for the Niger attacks, dubbed "Sheikh Abdelhamid Abou Zeid's conquest". The video includes photos of Abou Zeid with Belmokhtar, to emphasise their accord.

Going at it alone has not proven successful for the one-eyed terrorist.

The ousted al-Qaeda brigade leader last month joined forces with Mali-based terror group Movement of Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) to create the "Mourabitounes".
Seriously? Over here, we only give names like that to Sixties girl bands. Still, Pashtun warriors love their cosmetics, so who are we to judge?
He publicized the merger by including clips of his fighters as well as those of the MUJAO.

The video shows training and preparations for the 2013 siege at Algeria's In Amenas gas plant, which left dozens of civilian hostages dead. The January attack was a joint operation by the MUJAO and Laaouar's katibat.

The tape also features clips of the gunnies in action in northern Mali last year. Laaouar's "Brigade of the Veiled Ones" and their MUJAO allies are seen engaged in bloody festivities in Gao against the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA).
Didn't all that fighting get them driven into the desert?
For many observers, however, Belmokhtar's video was a failure.

"This latest media production is an attempt by this group to show that it still has the strength and the gear to continue the fight in the Sahel," filmmaker Zine El Abidine Ould Bukhari told Magharebia.

"It is nothing more than a propaganda movie," he added. "This display of military equipment and mental readiness of terrorist elements did not bear fruit in the real field of confrontation, which means that it is mainly promotional material and nothing more."
This is where we point and laugh.
Furthermore, young people are becoming more aware about terror recruiting efforts, so multimedia and propaganda tapes "no longer have the same magnitude of influence on them,", he said.

According to Sahara Media Editor Bashir Ould Babana, Belmokhtar was weakened and his forces divided.

"Therefore Laaouar is seeking to reunite the remaining pieces and trying to rebuild an organization through publicity campaigns and buying weapons," Babana said.

To that end, the terrorist is now in Libya, Mosaique FM reported on Friday.

"Laaouar, who has a network of positive relations with some of the leaders of terrorist organizations in Libya, was accompanied on his trip by Iyad Ag Ghaly, leader of Ansar al-Din," the Tunisian radio station reported.

Laaouar is in Libya looking for weapons, unnamed security sources reportedly told the radio station, in order to conduct terrorist attacks in Tunisia and Algeria.
Link


Africa North
Armed Islamists Vow to Continue Fight in Mali
2013-03-27
[An Nahar] An armed Islamist group which occupied northern Mali last year vowed Tuesday to continue its fight to drive out the French and African troops that routed it in a lightning military operation in January.

Ansar Dine, Arabic for "defenders of the faith", was one of three jihad boy organizations to take advantage of the disarray following a coup to claim control of Mali's vast northern desert, imposing a brutal form of sharia law in its cities.

"We reassure our parents in Mali, particularly in Azawad (northern Mali), that their sons within Ansar Dine are in a good situation, resist by the grace of Allah and continue to lead the fighting under the command of Iyad Ag Ghaly, who is doing well," the group said in a statement published by Mauritanian news portal Sahara Media.

Ag Ghaly, an ethnic Tuareg rebel who gave up a career as a high-level diplomat to take up arms, founded Ansar Dine early last year, but unconfirmed reports claim he has fled abroad.

His fighters, along with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, are accused of committing atrocities in the Malian cities of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal, including amputations and summary executions.

They were driven out by a French military action that began on January 11, supported by African troops, and are being hunted down in an ongoing French-led mission to flush them out of the remote northeastern Ifoghas mountains.

The statement said Ansar Dine had managed to inflict damage on the French army and "Chadian mercenaries" in the mountain range, "despite the siege imposed on us".

La Belle France said in early March that "dozens" of rebels had been killed in fighting in the Ifoghas.

But Ansar Dine said the corpse count ascribed to the group by the French was "totally false and intended only to improve the low morale of their troops".

"The truth that the press still hides is that the French soldiers, and with them the Chadian mercenaries, continue to suffer all kinds of punishment from (our) youths (who) are hunted on land and from the air," the statement said.
An armed Islamist group which occupied northern Mali last year vowed Tuesday to continue its fight to drive out the French and African troops that routed it in a lightning military operation in January.

Ansar Dine, Arabic for "defenders of the faith", was one of three jihad boy organizations to take advantage of the disarray following a coup to claim control of Mali's vast northern desert, imposing a brutal form of sharia law in its cities.

"We reassure our parents in Mali, particularly in Azawad (northern Mali), that their sons within Ansar Dine are in a good situation, resist by the grace of Allah and continue to lead the fighting under the command of Iyad Ag Ghaly, who is doing well," the group said in a statement published by Mauritanian news portal Sahara Media.

Ag Ghaly, an ethnic Tuareg rebel who gave up a career as a high-level diplomat to take up arms, founded Ansar Dine early last year, but unconfirmed reports claim he has fled abroad.

His fighters, along with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, are accused of committing atrocities in the Malian cities of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal, including amputations and summary executions.

They were driven out by a French military action that began on January 11, supported by African troops, and are being hunted down in an ongoing French-led mission to flush them out of the remote northeastern Ifoghas mountains.

The statement said Ansar Dine had managed to inflict damage on the French army and "Chadian mercenaries" in the mountain range, "despite the siege imposed on us".

La Belle France said in early March that "dozens" of rebels had been killed in fighting in the Ifoghas.

But Ansar Dine said the corpse count ascribed to the group by the French was "totally false and intended only to improve the low morale of their troops".

"The truth that the press still hides is that the French soldiers, and with them the Chadian mercenaries, continue to suffer all kinds of punishment from (our) youths (who) are hunted on land and from the air," the statement said.

Link


Africa North
AQIM brigade chief dead in Aguelhok
2013-03-09
[MAGHAREBIA] The leader of a new al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) brigade was allegedly killed in northern Mali, ANSA reported on Thursday (March 7th).

El Kairouani Abu Abdelhamid al-Kidali was reportedly eliminated by French and Chadian forces in Aguelhok, Sahara Media said.

The news followed reports of the deaths of al-Qaeda leader Abdelhamid Abou Zeid and his chief rival Mokhtar Belmokhtar. On Wednesday, Ansar al-Din leader Iyad Ag Ghaly was also rumoured dead.

On November 28th, AQIM announced the creation of the "Youssef ben Tachfine" brigade, led by al-Kidali. The new brigade is made up mainly of Touaregs.
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