Results tagged “Mali”
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The Malian government announced that it traded four prisoners to AQIM to obtain the release of French hostage Serge Lazarevic last week. France's defense minister said that "nearly 200 terrorists have been neutralized" by French forces in the Sahel region over the past year.
The French military killed Ahmed el Tilemsi, the co-founder of MUJAO, during a special operations raid in Gao in northern Mali on Dec. 11. France's current Operation Barkhane "is taking place across Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad and involves a total 3 000 French troops."
Serge Lazarevic, the last French hostage in Africa, has been freed. Lazarevic was kidnapped along with geologist Philippe Verdon by AQIM on November 24, 2011. Verdon was murdered by the jihadist group in July 2013.
Three Chadian peacekeepers were injured, one seriously, when their vehicle struck an IED close to the UN camp in Aguelhok on Dec. 2. Ten peacekeepers have been killed and 36 injured in northern Mali this year.
The Financial Times reports "[o]ne UN peacekeeper has been killed or wounded in Mali every four days on average since the organisation's 'blue helmets' operation was launched there 18 months ago." Jihadists have begun to use IED tactics honed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Suspected al Qaeda fighters kidnapped 10 children and killed two others who tried to escape near the towns of Aguelhoc and Kidal in northern Mali. The government has indicated that it is stepping up security after a suicide attack on Nov. 21.
A video of two hostages, Frenchman Serge Lazarevic and Dutchman Sjaak Rijke, was released by AQIM. Both men were kidnapped in Mali by the jihadist group in Nov. 2011. Lazarevic, the only French captive in the world, stated that his "life is in danger since France intervened in Iraq."
The French military has updated the number of jihadists killed in a firefight on Oct. 29 in the Kidal region to 24; the operation also resulted in the death of a French soldier, two captured militants, and the seizure of "materials used to make suicide bomber vests." On Nov. 8, a truck carrying civilians in Kidal was attacked with explosives, sending at least two to the hospital.
Touareg rebel groups formed a joint military command in northern Mali. A spokesman stated that the aim is "to help secure Azawad against the various criminal, smuggling and terrorism gangs which destabilise the region."
Two Malian soldiers were killed and four wounded by a bomb in Almoustrate in northern Mali.
French forces and an AQIM-affiliated group clashed in the Tigharghar valley near the Algerian border. One French paratrooper and about 20 of an estimated 30 militants were killed, according to the French defense minister.
France has criticized the "slow deployment of UN peacekeepers," citing an increase in attacks by Islamist groups, and plans to redeploy troops from neighboring countries to reinforce its operations in northern Mali.
On Oct. 19, French forces captured three men and seized an arms cache in a raid in the town of Kidal in northern Mali. The suspects are believed to be tied to a rocket attack on a UN base there on Oct. 7. The following day, French counterterrorism forces "issued a firm warning to the terrorist groups active in northern Mali, declaring that their criminal acts thwarting people's freedom and claiming the lives of peacekeepers shall not go unpunished."
The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) claimed it carried out the Oct. 3 attack in Mali that killed nine Nigerian peacekeepers in Gao. MUJAO's emir vowed to conduct more attacks against UN peacekeepers in northern Mali.