Al Murabitoon, which recently changed its name to Al Qaeda in West Africa (AQWA), has released an audio statement by an Egyptian fighter threatening Western forces in Mali. The statement, which has been translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, tries to incite other fighters into conducting suicide attacks against French and Dutch personnel.
The statement begins by saying, “You [referring to other jihadists] stood in front of the worshipers of the Cross on the day when people have slackened, and you carried the banner of Tawhid [monotheism] on the day when people carried banners of disbelief and tribalism.” The latter part is an obvious reference to the Tuareg tribes and groups that first took over northern Mali in 2012. The Egyptian jihadist again mentions the Tuareg separatists by saying, “Many people have stood in fighting and getting killed for the sake of a tribal cause.”
The jihadist then turns his attention to explaining how Muslims should retaliate against the “Crusaders.” He begins with “Isn’t it right, that for the one who was the reason behind converting you to Islam and guiding you to jihad – and you have tasted the sweetness of both of them – you retaliate for him? And you stand and fight? And you sacrifice for him with your blood, your money, and your honor?”
The statement then threatens foreign forces in northern Mali. “The time has come to battle the French and the Dutch, to retaliate for your Prophet,” the jihadist said. French forces in the country are currently engaged in the region-wide Operation Barkhane, which replaced the official French-led mission in Mali, Operation Serval. The Netherlands deployed a contingent of special forces, attack helicopters, and intelligence personnel to join the UN mission in Mali last year.
One of the jihadists in the March attack on a nightclub in the capital of Bamako is identified in the statement as Muhammad Tanoori. AQWA claims that he was killed “in the first operation in Bamako in retaliating for the Prophet Muhammad.” The jihadist who conducted the April suicide attack in Ansongo is also identified as Ibrahim al Ansari, who was likely native to the region or Mali, as implied with his nom de guerre.