Results tagged “Mali”

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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.

Jihadists ambushed a MINUSMA convoy between Ansongo and Menaka in northern Mali, killing nine Nigerien UN peacekeepers and wounding several others. French forces reportedly arrested four jihadists affiliated with Mokhtar Belmokhtar's group Al Mourabitoun near Gao several days ago. Terrorists are said to be regrouping in northern Mali.

The UN mission reported that one Chadian peacekeeper was killed and four were seriously wounded when their vehicle hit a landmine near Aguelhok in northeastern Mali. The head of the UN mission condemned the attack as a war crime.

A rebel group in Kidal in northern Mali captured an al Qaeda operative known as Meherig Jafar and transferred him to Malian security forces. Jafar is believed to be a deputy to Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a senior leader in the al-Murabitoon Brigade, which is separate from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb but loyal to al Qaeda.

At least four UN troops were killed and six seriously injured when a convoy of Chadian peacekeepers hit a land mine about 20 miles outside of Kidal. In separate attacks yesterday, mortars were fired at a UN base in Aguelhok, and four UN civilian contractors were injured by a landmine. A UN spokesman said attacks in the area have been increasing. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb's Sahara branch recently claimed four attacks carried out in Timbuktu in July and August.

The UN Security Council condemned the Aug. 16 suicide attack in Ber that killed two UN peacekeeping troops from Burkina Faso and wounded seven other troops, and said the attack will not deter UN efforts. On Aug. 10, French special forces captured three suspected members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb near Timbuktu; the UN's Mali mission said that an AQIM cell based west of Timbuktu possibly included Somali, Chadian, and Tunisian nationals as well as a man with dual Spanish-Moroccan citizenship.

Islamist militants carried out a suicide car bombing outside a patrol base in Ber, about 40 miles east of Timbuktu, killing two UN peacekeeping troops from Burkina Faso and injuring nine other troops. Three peacekeeping troops were injured earlier this week by land mines, in two separate attacks.

French forces dropped up to five bombs in the Essakane region west of Timbuktu yesterday, targeting al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb positions. President Keita said last week that he is committed to preventing the emergence of a caliphate in Mali.

French military forces arrested Yoro Ould Daha, a former leader of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, earler this week at his home in Gao. Algeria has said bad weather, not a terrorist attack, caused the July 24 passenger jet crash in the Malian desert.

A suicide car bomb attack on French troops patrolling in the Al Moustarat region north of Gao killed one French soldier and wounded at least six others. In a goodwill gesture ahead of peace talks between the Malian government and separatist rebels in the north, 41 Tuareg prisoners were exchanged for 45 soldiers held by rebels. A message purportedly from Hamaad bin Muhammad al-Amin al-Shinqiti, former head of the sharia judiciary in Gao, expressed his approval of the Islamic State; the message was titled "Azawadi Support for the Islamic State."

French Foreign Minister LeDrian announced the end of Operation Serval in Mali and the commencement of a new counterterrorism operation called Operation Barkhan, which will see 1,000 French soldiers left in Mali and 3,000 more deployed to Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad. The operation, which will be based in Chad and employ drones, helicopters, fighter jets, transport planes, and armored vehicles, aims to prevent the Sahel region from becoming "a highway ... where jihadist groups between Libya and the Atlantic Ocean can rebuild themselves."

A MINUSMA force vehicle carrying Burkinabe peacekeeping troops was hit by a roadside bomb near Goundam, about 30 km west of Timbuktu; one peacekeeper was killed and six others injured, three of them seriously. On June 25, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in Mali for another 12 months, but downsized the maximum military personnel level from 7,137 to 5,437. The current civilian, police, and military force is now at about 75% of the target levels. The UN Secretary-General said security in northern Mali has deteriorated since the beginning of 2014.