Results tagged “Mali”
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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.
The interior security minister said the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa was responsible for the killing of 31 Tuaregs on Feb. 7 in an incident initially reported by the UN mission as a clash between Peul and Tebu tribesmen. President Keita recently rejected allegations that the Malian government has used al Qaeda-linked groups to fight Tuareg separatists.
Armed Peul tribesmen killed at least 30 Tuaregs in Tamkoutat, north of Gao, in an apparent revenge attack for a kidnapping. The UN is appealing for additional aid for Mali, where 800,000 people currently are suffering from a severe food shortage and security remains fragile.
A group called the "al-Sahel Media Center" announced its creation, saying it will serve as the "podium of jihad and the mujahideen in Azawad and Mali." ECOWAS and the African Union are trying to get help from the UN and the European Union so that a rapid response standby force with "lift capacity" can be formed. Nearly two years after Islamists seized much of northern Mali, there are still 217,811 displaced persons in the country and another 167,000 in refugee camps in neighboring countries.
In an operation north of Timbuktu that involved aircraft and over 100 troops, French forces killed 11 suspected Islamist militants and seized large quantities of weapons and ammunition, as well as equipment, including mobile phones. The commander of Malian military forces in the region said al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa are operating in the Ifoghas mountains; patrols are currently underway in the area.