Results tagged “Mali”
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A suicide car bombing in Kidal killed two Senegalese members of the UN peacekeeping force and destroyed the only operating bank in the town. Several other people were seriously injured, and more casualties are feared from the collapse of the bank building. In the town of Teringuite, at least 80 militants from the al Qaeda-linked Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) led by commander Abou Dardar attacked a Tuareg camp and killed two people.
French military forces have killed 19 Islamist militants during an ongoing operation north of Timbuktu. The French operation, said to involve a large number of troops and about 100 military vehicles and helicopters, was launched last week against al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb fighters in the area between the communes of Bouje-Baya and Arouane. A local security source said "there are a lot of jihadi movements" in the area.
Authorities have discovered a mass grave in Diago, just north of Bamako, containing the bodies of 21 people. An investigation is proceeding to determine whether they are the remains of 21 soldiers who disappeared during a failed counter-coup in April 2012.
After a flareup of violence in Kidal, the separatist Tuareg Azawad group, consisting of the MNLA, MAA, and HCUA, ended its ceasefire with the government. The International Red Cross said conflict in the north is depriving most Malians in the area of access to health services. Cheibani Ould Hama, a Malian member of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb linked to the murder of an American official in Niger in 2000, was arrested along with three other persons in northern Mali by French forces.
Local security forces detained General Amadou Sanogo, the leader of the March 2012 military coup, for questioning. He is suspected of financial crimes and involvement in the deaths and disappearances of soldiers who resisted the coup last year.
A senior security official warned that Ansar Dine has reemerged as a threat and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb leader Abdelkrim al-Targui "is closing in too." Kidal residents complained of the continuing presence of extremist groups. The Malian military is trying to combat sleeper cells in areas such as Gao and Timbuktu. The reconciliation minister for the north said that "rebels, terrorists, and drug traffickers switch between Ansar Dine, MUJAO, and AQIM." The MINUMSA force in Mali is still at less than half its planned 12,600-man strength.
Turnout was low in parliamentary elections today. Demonstrators protested in Kidal against the elections, and gunmen stole ballot boxes and election materials in Goundam and Lere, near Timbuktu. Tuareg separatists smashed car windows in Gao, and destroyed ballot boxes in Tataye. Sixteen people were killed in clashes between ethnic Peul and separatist Tuareg near the Niger border.
French special forces in Tessalit killed Hacene Ould Khalill, a.k.a. Jouleibib, a Mauritanian national who served as deputy head of Mokhtar Belmokhtar's Those Who Sign in Blood Brigade, which merged with MUJAO in August. Suspected MUJAO militants fired rockets into Gao. At least three French soldiers in an armored vehicle were wounded in an explosion outside Kidal.
French and Malian authorities are searching for Baye Ag Bakabo, a Tuareg rebel and drug trafficker linked to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, who is suspected in the murders of two French journalists in Kidal. No arrests have been made so far. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said militants from the Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram have trained in Mali. Libya's foreign minister said al Qaeda elements maintain links with organized crime networks, which presents border security challenges.
The separatist Tuareg MNLA claimed that the Malian army violated a ceasefire by arresting several civilians and executing three of them. The Malian army disputed the accusation, saying that after armed bandits attacked a military patrol, three bandits were killed and four were wounded. A witness said the patrol was ambushed while it was responding to another MNLA attack.
Malian officials believe that the recent killing of two French journalists in Kidal was probably a botched operation by a terrorist linked to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which took credit for the murders. Baye Ag Bakabo, a prime suspect, is an ethnic Tuareg and former member of the AQIM brigade commanded by Abdelkrim al-Targui. Experts say Targui is a relative of Ansar Dine leader Ag Ghali.