Al-Qaeda branch calls for holy war

2013-02-12 17:28
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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

Gao - Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap) has called for jihad in Mali, a monitoring group said on Tuesday, after four days of suicide attacks and guerrilla fighting in territory French-led forces reclaimed from Islamist rebels.

The call to holy war from Aqap, the global network's Yemen-based branch - which US officials have labelled al-Qaeda's most dangerous franchise - came as troops sought to tighten a security lock-down in Gao, the largest city in northern Mali and the target of a string of Islamist attacks.

Aqap condemned France's month-old military intervention against Islamist groups in the partially desert nation as a "crusader campaign against Islam", and called on Muslims everywhere to join the fight against it, the Site Intelligence agency said.

"Supporting the Muslims in Mali is a duty for every capable Muslim with life and money, everyone according to their ability," Aqap's Sharia Committee said in a statement reported by US-based Site, which monitors extremist internet forums.

It said jihad is "more obligatory on the people who are closer" to the fight and that "helping the disbelievers against Muslims in any form is apostasy".

The statements were an apparent reference to north African countries, notably Algeria, where Islamist gunmen attacked a gas field after the government agreed to let French warplanes use Algerian airspace, unleashing a hostage crisis that left 37 foreigners dead.

France launched its operation in Mali on 11 January, after the interim government requested help against Islamist insurgents who had seized the north for 10 months and were advancing into southern territory.

Paris sent in fighter jets, attack helicopters and 4 000 troops, racking up a string of early successes as French and African soldiers drove the extremists from Gao, Timbuktu and the rest of the towns under their control.

But the Islamists have now started a campaign of suicide attacks, landmine explosions and guerrilla fighting - a troubling turn for France, which is eager to wind down the operation in its former colony and hand over to UN peacekeepers.

Patrols

Troops from Mali and Niger patrolled the streets of Gao on Tuesday making periodic arrests, after four days of violence that began with back-to-back suicide bombings and an attack on the city centre by fighters from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao).

Malian Defence Minister Yamoussa Camara said three Islamists had been killed in the fighting on Sunday and 11 captured.

Three Malian soldiers were slightly wounded, he said.

Except for the heavy patrols, central Gao was nearly deserted on Tuesday.

"People are afraid because of the security situation and because we're making arrests," said a Malian officer.

Security forces continue to discover stockpiles of explosives and ammunition throughout Gao every day, a Malian military source said.

The rebels staged Sunday's attack from Gao's central police station.

The next day a French attack helicopter destroyed the building in a pre-dawn assault that left body parts and unexploded grenades strewn across the debris.

One witness said an Islamist fighter inside the police station had blown himself up.

Child soldiers

Paris announced last week it would begin bringing its troops home in March.

It wants some 8 000 African troops slowly being deployed to be incorporated into a UN peacekeeping mission.

But UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said on Monday "there is still hesitation from the government of Mali”.

In any case, he added, the situation on the ground would first have to be more stable and any UN peacekeeping force there would require a UN resolution.

Mali imploded after a 22 March coup by soldiers who blamed the government for the army's humiliation at the hands of north African Tuareg rebels, who have long complained of being marginalised by Bamako.

With the capital in disarray, al-Qaeda-linked fighters hijacked the Tuareg rebellion and took control of the north.

The head of the UN Children's Fund in Mali told AFP that armed groups in the north have recruited hundreds of children into their ranks.

"We need to be ready to take care of a lot of children" involved in the conflict, Unicef's Francoise Ackermans warned.

Read more on:    un  |  al-qaeda  |  algeria  |  mali  |  west africa  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

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
16 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

LOL! Best outdoor girl fails

It’s not only guys who have FAIL moments! Here are some of the funniest outdoor fails where girls are the victims!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

90-year-old's incredible travels
10 facts about swimming you didn't know
Halloween night run
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be some tension that is caused through social conflicts -- personal interests versus obligations. You may feel an...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.