3 Islamic extremist groups in Mali merge, pledge to al-Qaeda

2017-03-03 14:47
File: AFP

File: AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dakar - Three prominent Islamic extremist groups in Mali have announced they have merged into one and pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda's leader, according to an organisation that monitors jihadist websites.

Leaders from Ansar Dine, al-Mourabitoun and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb made the declaration in a video distributed Thursday, according to SITE Intelligence Group. The merged group is now called "Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen," which translates to "Support of Islam and Muslims," the monitoring group said.

The merger brings the threat of increased insecurity not only in Mali but also in neighboring West African countries which until recently had been relatively free of deadly attacks by extremist groups. The new group also is a threat to the UN peacekeeping force in Mali, the deadliest active U.N. mission in the world.

The declaration comes just a week after former Tuareg separatist rebels began joint patrols with Malian forces in northern Mali, a key step forward for a 2015 peace deal. The joint patrols aim to counter the various extremist threats and other sources of insecurity in the region.

The new merger of the three extremists groups was inspired by the unification of factions in Syria, Iyad Ag Ghaly, the former leader of Ansar Dine, said in the video, according to SITE. Ag Ghaly is leading the combined group, the monitoring organization said.

Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaeda took over northern Mali in 2012, exploiting a power vacuum after mutinous soldiers overthrew the president. French-backed forces pushed the extremists from strongholds the following year, but attacks have continued and progressed south.

Ansar Dine emerged in 2012 as a religious alternative to the largely secular Tuareg separatists operating in northern Mali. Ansar Dine had allied itself with al-Qaida before the groups took over the region, though no official declaration was made.

Al-Mourabitoun had claimed responsibility along with Aqim, al-Qaeda's North Africa branch, for the November 2015 attack at the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital, Bamako. At least 20 people were killed along with two gunmen during a more than seven-hour siege.

Read more on:    aqim  |  al-qaeda  |  mali  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.