Results tagged “Mali”
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In a military operation today, French troops freed five aid workers in Timbuktu who were kidnapped in February in the north by al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants affiliated with the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO). The five, all Malian nationals, are said to be in good health.
President Keita warned that Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the wanted jihadist leader who is said to have set up operations in Libya, constitutes a threat to peace in the region. Keita also said Mali is willing to enter reconciliation talks with rebel groups such as the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) so long as there is "total and unequivocal preservation of our territorial integrity." A French soldier was slightly wounded when a his vehicle encountered a roadside bomb in Tessalit on April 12. A Chadian military official in Kidal said al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has laid a number of mines in the area.
Islamists from Al Mourabitoun, a group formed by the merger last year of Mokhtar Belmokhtar's group and MUJAO, released a video showing an Algerian diplomat who has been held hostage since April 2012. Al Mourabitoun also denied reports that wanted terrorist Oumar Ould Hamaha was killed last month in Mali by a French airstrike.
A fire destroyed Bamako's main market, burning down 2,000 shops yesterday. On March 20, the French military claimed to have killed about 40 Islamist militants, including some senior commanders, in Mali in recent weeks.
French and Malian sources reported that wanted MUJAO commander Abou Dardar surrendered on March 15 to French troops, who briefly interrogated him and then turned him over to Malian security forces. He had reportedly taken refuge in Gao after the French military invention began in early 2013. Four Chadian soldiers in the MINUSMA force were injured by a land mine in northern Mali.
Recent French military operations have killed a number of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb fighters, including Redouan Abou el Achbal a.k.a. Aboubakr Benabdellah, an Algerian who was a top operative in Timbuktu and Kidal; and Mauritanians Oumar Ould Mohamed Ghoulam a.k.a. Al Ghallawi and Mohamedou Khoubeib, who were killed in Timbuktu. A Malian military source said Libyan Islamists have set up two bases in Mali's northeast. The UN estimates that its peacekeeping mission in Mali will reach 80 percent of its authorized strength this month and full strength by midyear. Only of half of the authorized 12,640 troops and police are currently in place.
French and Malian forces killed 10 terrorists from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb yesterday during an operation in the Amettetaï valley of the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains. The militants were discovered by a Reaper drone. The terrorists, who had rocket launchers, may have been among those who fired at French helicopters near Tessalit on Feb. 20.
Last night in Kidal, a sniper fired at police on a regular patrol, and an MNLA member was wounded allegedly by two jihadists on a motorcycle who fired at both the patrol and the MNLA; the MNLA blamed security forces for the incident. The al Murabitoon Brigade, a merger of Mokhtar Belmokhtar's forces and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), claimed a Feb. 17 attack against French forces at the airport in Timbuktu, a similar rocket attack against a base in Gao, and the kidnapping of Red Cross workers in northern Mali.
Near the Niger border, militants from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa clashed with ethnic Tuaregs loyal to the government; 17 civilians and 13 militants were killed. Last week 31 Tuaregs were killed in a similar clash.
A spokesman for the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) claimed that the group is holding five Red Cross workers kidnapped two days ago on the road between Kidal and Gao. A group of armed MUJAO members stormed into the town of Djebock near Gao yesterday looking for a Tuareg leader, but left empty-handed as he was not there.