Mali Islamist group under pressure

2012-11-05 12:11
(File,AP)

(File,AP)

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

Ouagadougou - Burkina Faso led efforts on Sunday to persuade one of the armed Islamist groups controlling northern Mali to cut ties with al-Qaeda as a west African military intervention looms to end the crisis.

Ansar Dine (Defender of Faith in Arabic) has joined with jihadist groups including al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) to take over the north of Mali in the wake of a March coup attempt in Bamako.

An Ansar Dine delegation which arrived in Ouagadougou on Friday met late on Sunday for about 45 minutes with Tieman Coulibaly, the foreign minister of Burkina's President Blaise Compaore.

"Things went well," said head delegate Algabass Ag Intalla after the talks.

A meeting on Monday between Intalla and Compaore, who has been the chief mediator in the Mali crisis for the regional bloc Ecowas, was not being ruled out.

The Ansar Dine envoys "renewed their availability and their commitment to find a negotiated solution to the crisis", said a source close to the mediation. The delegation was "very available, very open", the source added.

Group asserts 'independence'

As far as their "ties with the terrorist groups [are concerned], they insisted that they are independent" and had not committed "any act of terrorism", said the source, but added that Burkina Faso expected "concrete commitments".

Head delegate Intalla said he had met late on Saturday with the foreign minister in Mali's transitional government, in Ouagadougou, but declined to comment on their discussions.

The 16-nation Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) has demanded that Ansar Dine end "terror and organised crime" in the region, breaking with the al-Qaeda and other Islamist factions and enter into a political dialogue to re-establish the unity of the Mali nation.

While not immediately acceding to these demands, the group sent out a signal, saying that "Ansar Dine is independent of any other group", Intalla said.

He added that his movement "is ready to negotiate so that there will be peace".

Countries in the region - as well as the international community - fear that north Mali could become a new breeding ground for "terrorists".

Key player

On Friday Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said Ecowas "must take action to root out al-Qaeda, drug traffickers, kidnappers and other criminal elements who are turning northern Mali into a home for terrorists".

Terrorism fears have also led Algeria to hold talks with Ansar Dine representatives, the Algerian daily El Watan reported, citing a source close to the matter while the government has made no comment.

Algeria is seen as a key player in dealing with Islamic extremism, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the regional heavyweight this past week to press for support in the Mali crisis.

Algeria has been hesitant to get involved in any military intervention, however Washington feels that with its powerful army, counter-terrorism experience and intelligence services, it could play a central role.

Like Burkina Faso, Algeria would like to see a negotiated solution to the Malian crisis, while not ruling out a military intervention.

Meanwhile in Bamako, international experts were expected to finish their work on plans for a military force to enter Mali's desert north.

Islamic law

On 12 October, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution preparing for the deployment of such a force for Mali, giving Ecowas 45 days to firm up its plans.

The Mali coup attempt in March was triggered by soldiers angry at the government's handling of the Tuareg rebellion in the north and ousted the regime in Bamako. That however allowed the north to fall into the hands of the Tuareg rebels fighting alongside Islamic extremists.

The hardline Islamists quickly sidelined the secular Tuareg, eclipsing the desert nomads' plans for independence for an area they consider their homeland.

Mali was effectively split in two, with the north under control of Ansar Dine and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), backed by AQIM.

They have imposed their strict interpretation of Islamic law, stoning to death and whipping transgressors and forcing women to cover up as well as destroying ancient cultural treasures deemed "idolatrous".

Read more on:    un  |  ecowas  |  al-qaeda  |  goodluck jonathan  |  nigeria  |  algeria  |  burkina faso  |  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
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy 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

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...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.