Results tagged “Mauritania”
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The Tuareg MNLA and the HCUA, along with the Arab MAA, three rebel movements in northern Mali, are said to have reaffirmed their commitment in Ouagdougou to the accord reached this summer with the Malian government. The three groups reportedly offered to leave Kidal by Nov. 14 and asked for a renewed focus on security for Kidal and the Azawad area in general. Authorities released El Hacen Ould Mata, a Salafist, earlier this week, after he had served a three-year prison sentence.
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."
A court charged two Mauritanians with joining al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb to fight in Mali. One of the suspects, Brahim Ould Hmeida, is a brother of Abdallahi Ould Hmeida, a hostage-taker in the Id Amenas attack in Algeria. The other suspect, Mohamed Lemine Ould Cheikhani, had been arrested for terrorism in 2006 but was acquitted.
An imprisoned Mauritanian Salafist, Abu Ayyub al-Mahdi (a.k.a. Ahmed Salim bin al-Hassan), announced the creation of Ansar al Sharia in Mauritania with the goal of implementing sharia and countering an alleged war on Islam. Malian refugees in the M'Bara camp support the proposed deployment of UN peacekeepers to the areas they have fled; concerns remain that terrorists will conduct suicide operations in Mali.
Dembra Ould Semane, the brother of Salafist prisoners Mohamed and El Khadim Ould Semane, was arrested on terrorism charges. Security forces have stepped up monitoring of Salafists who might be joining al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and affiliated groups. The popularity of Islamist parties and AQIM is rising in the country, where 59 percent of the population is under 25 and unemployment is rife.
On Jan. 28 authorities in Brakna arrested three Salafists in Chegar alleged to be members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Tens of thousands of refugees from the fighting in Mali have fled to camps in Mauritania.
Some 84 fighters from the Tuareg separatist group MNLA fled Mali for Mauritania, turning over vehicles, weapons, and ammuntion to the Mauritanian Army. The men were admitted to the M'berra refugee camp.
A British citizen was reportedly detained near the Malian border as he attempted to join up with terrorists linked to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. A tacit truce between between AQIM and the Mauritanian Army might be ending as the Army moves to secure the strategic town of Fassala Nere and other border areas against possible AQIM incursions.
President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said that his country would not send troops to battle al Qaeda-linked groups in northern Mali. Aziz send the military would defend its borders and protect its citizens.
Police arrested a suspected French jihadist in Nema near the Malian border. The man, who had links to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, had entered Mauritania from Morocco, and was planning to go to Timbuktu in Mali.
President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz flew to Paris for treatment following a supposedly accidental shooting; two army officers have been detained. Some sources say the president was targeted by a militant group. Security was heightened last week over reports that al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb-linked terrorists were planning an attack in Mauritania, which has opposed the Islamist takeover of neighboring Mali.
Four French captives of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb appeared in a video pleading with the French government to negotiate with al Qaeda for their release. The captives were among a group of seven kidnapped two years ago in Niger; three were released in 2011.
Mauritanian police intercepted a weapons shipment on the Malian border near Fassala. Mauritanian businessmen were shipping the weapons to Ansar Dine, the Islamist group in control of northern Mali.
President Aziz said Mauritania would not intervene militarily against the Islamist takeover in Mali, but warned that the growing terrorist risk "can be a catastrophe for the entire world." He promised Mauritanian assistance with international efforts to stabilize Mali.
Hamada Ould Mohamed Kheirou, the presumed leader of an armed Islamist group called the Movement for Unity and Justice in West Africa, has "declared war" against France. Last week, Mauritania issued an international arrest warrant against Kheirou, also known as Abou Qumqum.