Al-Qaeda attacks Mauritania army base

2011-07-06 18:15

kalahari.com

Noukchott - Mauritanian soldiers patrolled the town of Bassiknou on Wednesday after al-Qaeda-linked extremists attacked a nearby army base which houses an anti-terrorist unit, a military source said.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) launched the raid ten days after one of its camps was destroyed in a raid by the Mauritanian army in western Mali, as it sought to flush out extremists in the desert region.

A military source speaking on condition of anonymity said soldiers were keeping watch around the town in the extreme south of the country, ready against any eventuality.

The area was rocked by gunfire and explosions as the army, backed by military aircraft, battled AQIM militants in a counter-attack which lasted "less than an hour".

"The army riposte was strong and effective, causing 20 deaths among the assailants. Ten were taken prisoner and at least three vehicles were destroyed," the military source said.

Soldiers, assisted by military aircraft, then pursued those who had fled, into Mali. It was not yet known whether they had made any arrests.

AQIM on Wednesday denied the death toll reported by the Mauritanian army, saying only two of its followers had been killed.

"The mujahedeen lost two of their fighters: Algerian Eness Abou Fatima Alazairi and Abdel Halim Al Azawadi from northern Mali," an AQIM spokesperson told the private Nouakchott news agency, which often publishes AQIM statements.

Proxy war

The spokesperson, speaking on condition of anonymity, said AQIM had managed to recover the body of the Malian, but the other was left "on the battlefield."

Others who took part in the attack had "arrived back at their bases safe and sound", he said.

At least four Mauritanian soldiers were injured, said a source at the Bassiknou hospital where they were admitted.

On June 24, the Mauritanian army destroyed an AQIM base during a raid in the Wagadou forest of northwestern Mali.

The military said the base had housed heavy anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons which posed a threat to the country, and reported the deaths of 15 AQIM members and two Mauritanian soldiers.

On Monday, AQIM released a statement saying at least 20 Mauritanian soldiers were killed and 12 army vehicles destroyed in the raid.

AQIM once again accused Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of fighting "a proxy war on behalf of France", urging Mauritanians to denounce this, learn from their losses "and save themselves from a war which is not theirs".

Regional force

AQIM has bases in northern Mali from where it carries out armed attacks and kidnappings in the Sahel desert region where the group is also involved in arms and drugs trafficking.

Mali and Mauritania are among the countries hardest-hit by AQIM activities, along with Niger and Algeria, where the organisation has its roots. The nations work closely together in efforts to crack down on the organisation.

Since July 2010, Mauritania has carried out military operations on AQIM camps in Mali.

AQIM is holding four French citizens kidnapped in Niger in September 2010 as well as an Italian woman taken hostage in Algeria in February.

It has demanded that French President Nicolas Sarkozy withdraw his troops from Afghanistan as a condition for their release.

Mali has called for a regional push to train up to 75 000 troops within the next 18 months to combat extremists in the Sahel desert region.

- SAPA

Read more on:    aqim  |  al-qaeda  |  nicolas sarkozy  |  mauritania  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Delft - 20:37 PM
    Road name: R300 Southbound
    ROADWORKS - left lane closed at Hindle Road
  • Wednesday Sir Lowry's Pass - 17:57 PM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Canon EOS 600D

The Canon EOS 600D Digital Camera puts the widely respected...

From R5389.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

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.