Tag Archives: Al Qaeda

MALI: 25 perished in attacks

Islamist militants are suspected to be a group behind the killing 25 people including 13 soldiers in multiple attacks in central Mali, burning down an army base and ambushing troops sent as reinforcements, the army and local authorities said on October 13.

The attacks were the deadliest since the August 18 military coup d’état ousting unpopular President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, and came just days after scores of jailed jihadists were freed by the interim government in a prisoners for hostages swap.

Nine soldiers were killed in the first attack that took place overnight against a base in Sokoura near the border with Burkina Faso, the army statement reads.

At around 8:30 a.m. (0830 GMT) on Tuesday, on October 13, another three soldiers were killed in an ambush at a bridge near the base as their unit headed to the scene of the first attack, the army statement explains.

Nine militants were killed in clashes with the reinforcement unit and two of their vehicles destroyed by the air force.

In a third assault about 40 minutes later near the town of Bandiagara, gunmen ambushed a commercial truck, killing 12 traders and one soldier, according to Moulaye Guindo, the mayor of nearby Bankass, to which the traders were en route.

A witness said he saw nine bodies at the military base and helped transport 20 wounded to local medical centres.

“They (jihadists) took all the vehicles and burned those they could not take away. The camp is burned,” said the witness, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal.

A transitional government has been appointed since the military coup. But regional and international powers fear the violence could further destabilise the West African nation and undermine a French-directed military campaign against insurgents linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in the wider Sahel region.

Mali: Swiss hostage death in absentia

Brussels 10.10.2020 A Swiss hostage – Béatrice Stockly (pictured) – Evangelical Missionary in Timbuktu, who had been held in Mali for four years was killed, the Swiss foreign ministry announced on October 9 in the evening after being informed by French authorities.

“She was apparently killed by kidnappers of the Islamist terrorist organization Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslim (JNIM) about a month ago,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.

It said the exact circumstances of the killing were still unclear, but that information had been obtained by the French authorities from a recently released French hostage.

Swiss authorities had worked with Malian authorities and international partners over the past four years to try to obtain the release of the hostage, the ministry said. It did not name the hostage.

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis condemned the killing in the statement. The ministry said it would try to find out more about the circumstances of the killing and whereabouts of the hostage’s remains.

Basel humanitarian Béatrice Stockly, kidnapped four years ago in Mali, was killed by her captors, those responsible are apparently members of an al-Qaeda group. She was allegedly killed by the kidnappers of the Islamist terrorist organization Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslim (JNIM) about a month ago.

“It is with great sadness that I learned of the death of our fellow citizen”, declared the head of the FDFA Ignazio Cassis. “I condemn this cruel act and express my deepest condolences to the relatives of the victim.”

Swiss evangelical missionary in the field Béatrice Stockly, who has been living in Timbuktu (Mali) for many years.

This woman who became Arabic-speaking, with a modest income, formerly in the service of the German mission “New Life Ghana”, had chosen to live, independently, within the population to develop local social action and offer a Christian alternative. Béatrice Stockly was kidnapped twice, in Mali, first in 2012 (Ansar Dine group) and then from 2016 (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb), because of her religious activity.

At the start of 2016, AQIM described her as “a disbelieving “evangelizer” who, through her work, has succeeded in bringing out of Islam a number of sons of Muslims” From a strict security point of view.

The exact circumstances of the Swiss hostage assassination are not yet clear. The French authorities were informed of this execution through the intermediary of the recently released French hostage, Sophie Pétronin.

MALI: Ms.Pétronin hostage liberation

The son of the French-Swiss humanitarian worker Sophie Pétronin, the last French hostage in the Sahel since her kidnapping by armed men linked to Al Qaeda at the end of 2016, flew to Bamako, Mali, on October 6, in the hope of his soon being released.

Sophie Pétronin, 75, was kidnapped on December 24, 2016 in Gao, northern Mali, where she ran a children’s aid organization.

This morning Sébastien Chadaud-Pétronin, who has traveled to Mali several times in an attempt to secure his mother’s release, has confirmed to a several news agencies that he had boarded a commercial flight to Bamako.

“There is still nothing official,” he said shortly before his plane took off. However, he referred to converging information coming from “reliable sources”.

According to a French security source in the Sahel, the hostages are being transferred to Bamako.

In a fragile state, the French humanitarian aid worker Sophie Pétronin should be released at the same time as the Malian opponent Soumaïla Cissé, kidnapped in March by a group linked to Al Qaeda, as part of a prisoner exchange, said three security sources.

More than 200 jihadists have been released in the past two days, according to security sources in Mali. (Image below: Strasbourg).

Sudan: separation of religion from state

Sudan’s transitional government agreed to separate religion from the state, ending three decades of Islamic rule. (Image: Khartoum)

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu, a leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North rebel group, signed a declaration in Addis Ababa, the capital city, adopting the principle.

For Sudan to become a democratic country where the rights of all citizens are enshrined, the constitution should be based on the principle of ‘separation of religion and state,’ in the absence of which the right to self-determination must be respected,” the document states.

The accord comes less than a week after the government initialed a peace deal with rebel forces aiming at end of fighting that ravaged Darfur and other parts of Sudan under ousted dictator Omar al-Bashir.

The larger of two factions in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, which has fought Sudanese troops in the nation’s border states, has refused to sign any agreement that doesn’t ensure a secular system.

Sudan is recovering from international isolation that began soon after Bashir seized power in 1989 and implemented a hard-line interpretation of Islamic law that intended to shape the country as the “vanguard of the Islamic world.” Al-Qaeda settled théorie and the U.S. designated Sudan a terror sponsor in 1993, later imposing sanctions until 2017.

Côte d’Ivoire joined counterterrorist operation

Soldiers from Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso conducted their first joint operation against jihadists insurgency near their shared border, neutralising eight suspected militants and arresting 14 others, Ivorian army said on May 24.

Burkina Faso and its neighbours Mali and Niger in West Africa’s vast Sahel zone are conducting operaions against Islamist insurgencies with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State, claiming to re-consturct the historic Caliphe of Sokoto.

Those terrorist groups have been strengthening and expanding their range of operations, leaving coastal countries like Cote d’Ivoire at risk of violence and unrest breaking into their territories.

The joint operation was launched on May 11 with about 1,000 Ivorian soldiers participating from their side of the 580-kilometre border with Burkina Faso, Ivorian army announced in a statement.

The suspected militants were killed in Burkina Faso, the army confirmed, adding that the operation is ongoing.

Jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have escalated dramatically over the past year despite significant military support from France, which is engaged in partnerships with former colonies.

While Cote d’Ivoire has mostly been spared the violence affecting its neighbours, it was the victim in 2016 of an attack claimed by al Qaeda in which gunmen killed 19 people at a beach resort.
Image: illustration

Al-Shabaab claims governor assassination

Somalia Mudug region governor was killed with three of his bodyguards in a suicide car bombing on May 17. The explostion was claimed by Islamist group al Shabaab, police said.

“A suicide car bomb hit the governor’s car. Governor Ahmed Muse Nur and three of his bodyguards died,” police captain Mohamed Osman told Reuters.

Al Shabaab has been fighting for years to topple Somalia’s western-backed central government and frequently carries out bombings in Somalia and elsewhere in the region. The group wants to establish its own rule in the Horn of Africa country, based on its own strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

“We are behind the explosion. It was a suicide car bomb. We killed Mudug region governor and his three bodyguards,” al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab told media.

The same day the armed group posted a statement on a pro-Shabab website that said: “The governor of the apostate administration in the Mudug region was killed in a martyrdom operation in Galkayo today.”

Galkayo lies about 600km (375 miles) north of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.

Al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda affiliate, pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011 and lost most of its strongholds, but still controls vast swathes of the countryside.

Mali: soldiers killed in attack

Dozens Malian soldiers have been killed in an attack on an army base in the country’s northeast in the town of Tarkint, north of Gao, according to the armed forces. French media indicated number of casualties has risen to 30 servicemen slain, and five wounded.

There was now immediate claim of responsibility for this attack, the deadliest against for the Malian army this year.

Mali’s army has repeatedly suffered heavy casualties from armed Islamists groups active in the area affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS), intending to establish the Caliphate in West Africa.

Sahel: France hopes US stays

France hopes the United States will not diminish support for French military operations in West Africa, where jihadist groups affiliated with Islamic State and Al-Qaeda are increasing their activities.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian made the appeal as Defence Minister Florence Parly was due to meet U.S. counterparts on January 27 to discuss the crisis in the Sahel.

Last year the Pentagon announced plans to withdraw hundreds of military personnel from Africa as it redirects resources to address challenges from China and Russia after two decades focused on counter-terrorism operations. Those changes are following an ongoing global troop review spearheaded by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

The possibility has alarmed France, which relies on U.S. intelligence and logistics for its 4,500-strong troops in the Sahel.
I hope they will be rational to keep this partnership … and that good sense will prevail,” le Drian told reporters.

The U.S. currently has 6,000 military personnel in Africa. Although some experts say a re-positioning of forces is overdue, many U.S. politicians and experts share French concerns about jihad spreading in Sahel region.

IS claims Burkina Faso deadly attack

The Islamic State affiliated group has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on Burkinabé  military leaving 24 dead. FRANCE 24 TV Channel expert Wassim Nasr says the claim is credible and that the attack shows how IS group has expanded its reach in northern Burkina Faso. (Image: illustration).

The August 20 attack on a military post in the north-eastern village of Koutougou killed 24 soldiers. By claiming responsibility for this attack, IS group has demonstrated its capacity to strike in areas where al Qaeda tends to be active.

Burkina Faso’s military said 24 soldiers were killed and seven others injured on August 19 in a “major attack by armed terrorist groups” in the Koutougou department of Soum province in the northern Sahel bordering Mali.

Five Mali soldiers killed in jihad

Five soldiers killed in an ambush, the  Malian army representatives said.  According to the statement  the soldiers were travelling between the towns of Hombori and Boni, about 100 km north of the Burkina Faso border, when they fell into an ambush. Their vehicle was also destroyed. Reinforcements have been immediately dispatched. (Image above: Hombori sunset).

It came days after gunmen killed 24 soldiers in an attack on an army unit in neighboring Burkina Faso.

Terrorist attacks targeting local security forces in the Sahel region have increased lately.

Since 2012, Islamists linked to al Qaeda have taken control of northern Mali, exploiting the downfall of Libyan state, and following Tuareg separatist uprising. The fragility of the Sahel region, is cause for international concern.
Despite French intervention and the deployment of joint forces from five Sahel countries, terrorist groups still control a large part of this region and are increasingly influential in Burkina Faso and Niger.

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