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

 
/Sport
 

3 sports games you have to watch this weekend

Whether it’s date night or a braai with buddies, plan around these three exciting sporting games!

 
 

Men24.com

How to maintain your mo, bro
Hottie of the day: Colette
Pro-skater Tony Hawk rides a hoverboard!
10 ways to drive her wild!

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

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. 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!

Save up to R2200 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!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. 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 is a strong desire to be unique, self sufficient, right and in control today. Your mind is fast today and you may have the...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.