Several Tuareg captives were executed by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in a new video released by the Sahara branch of Al Andalus Media, the official media wing of the terrorist group. The captives were accused of spying for French, Malian, and Mauritanian forces in northern Mali.
One of the purported spies is shown speaking to one of AQIM’s Sharia officials, then later sentenced to death for allegedly aiding in the deaths of several AQIM fighters. Additionally, according to analyst and risk consulting firm Menastream, the same captive discussed giving information to Mauritanian intelligence services about jihadist fighters in Mali who returned from Libya or vice versa. Another captive discussed how he set up a spy ring in Timbuktu for France.
In addition, AQIM claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and subsequent execution of a Malian national guard soldier in Timbuktu. The group also took credit for the execution of a leader of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), a Tuareg separatist group and one-time ally of AQIM. In that execution scene, the leader of AQIM’s Al Furqan Brigade, Abu Talha al Libi, can be seen standing near the captive. The Al Furqan Brigade operates in northern Mali, mainly in the Timbuktu Region, and is part of AQIM’s so-called Sahara Emirate.
The executions took place in front of a large crowd, however, they are not shown on camera. One execution can be heard, but the entire scene is entirely blurred out. This fits with the wider trend in al Qaeda to not publish gruesome executions, which sits in stark contrast with the Islamic State.
Screenshots from the video:
Abu Talha al Libi, the emir of the Al Furqan Brigade, can be seen to the immediate right of the captive: