Results tagged “Mauritania”
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Two Salafists detained at Nouakchott central jail for five years, Béchir Khrachi Sall and Sidi Ouls Samoury, have been freed after serving their sentences. Authorities said Canadian national Aaron Yoon, who was arrested in December 2011 and jailed in Mauritania on terrorism charges, will be freed. He is said to have traveled to the region with two Canadians jihadists who were killed in the attack on the In Amenas gas facility by Mokhtar Belmokhtar's Signed in Blood Battalion. Yoon has alleged he was tortured while in jail.
A Mauritanian branch of Ansar al Sharia, the political face of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, has emerged openly since its founding in Dar Naim central prison. One of its Salafist leaders recently invited all Mauritanians to join; the latest Ansar al Sharia event was held on June 21 in Nouakchott. Some extremist imams and politicians have joined the group, which is calling for the imposition of sharia law.
Ansar Dine spokesman Senda Ould Boumama, a Mauritanian, surrendered to Mauritanian forces near Bassiknou and has been transferred to Nouackchott for questioning. He had asked for extradition to his native country last month, saying he was the target of an assassination attempt.
Abdallahi Ould Mohamed Ghailani, a guard at the Salah Eddine prison, was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor for spying for al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb; he facilitated communications between Salafist prisoners and terrorists outside. Four university students were sentenced to five years in prison and fined for trying to send jihadists to Mali. Prosecutors asked that Canadian suspect Aaron Yoon, who tried to train with al Qaeda in Mali and to recruit other jihadists, receive a 10-year sentence.
The UN reported appalling conditions at the Mbera camp for Malian refugees in the southeast corner of Mauritania, which currently shelters some 70,000 people. Canadian citizen Aaron Yoon, who was arrested in late 2011 while preparing to travel to Mali to join Islamist fighters, is serving a two-year sentence in Mauritania that was imposed in July. He told the court he had been recruited by an Islamist named Mohammed El-Hafed.
The foreign minister announced the arrest of five armed jihadists who were attempting to enter Mauritania from northern Mali. He also said that other members of "armed Islamist groups active in northern Mali" had also been arrested "while posing as refugees." Mauritania has declared most of the regions along its shared border with Mali to be closed military zones to prevent infiltration by "terrorist elements."