Mali president: Al-Mourabitoun not behind attack

2015-11-23 10:59
File: AFP

File: AFP

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

Bamako - Mali's president has questioned claims that al-Mourabitoun, an al-Qaeda linked group, was responsible for last week's assault on a luxury hotel in the capital Bamako.

In his first interview since Friday's attack that left 27 people dead, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita told Al Jazeera that despite early speculation, his intelligence suggested that another group, the Macina Liberation Front, was responsible for it.

"Initially it was said that this was the work of al-Marabitoun but tonight all indications are it is the Macina Liberation Front who are behind this," he said.

"They're acting as if Macina was a country or territory that needed to be liberated. At this precise moment I have no more details."

The November 20 assault on the Radisson Blu hotel was the latest in a series of deadly raids this year on prominent targets in Mali, which has battled various armed groups based in its desert north for years.

Members claiming to be part of al-Mourabitoun quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it carried it out " in co-ordination with Imarat al-Sahra group and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM]".

Sharp setback for France

While the attack was under way on Friday, Al Jazeera gained access to a recording in which assailants claiming to be part of al-Mourabitoun said they would only release the hostages it had taken when its members were freed from Bamako's prisons, and when what they called "aggression against the people of northern Mali" was stopped.

Little is known about the affiliations of Macina Liberation Front, though it has been credited for a series of attacks on Malian troops and civilians over 2015.

Responding to reports quoting witnesses that the hotel attackers spoke English, Keita told Al Jazeera: "My intelligence is working on this. ... We are processing the information but it could mean many things."

The attack in Bamako is a sharp setback for France, the region's former colonial power which has stationed 3,500 troops in northern Mali to try to restore stability in a region ridden with competing armed groups.

Al Jazeera's Mohamed Vall, who has reportedly widely from Mali and Mauritania, said the hotel assault underscored the "fragility of the Malian government".

"Bamako has been supposedly in a state of alert since the latest Tuareg rebellion in 2012. You can only imagine that the government has been taking all necessary measures to protect its high-value assets including international hotels," he said.

There were some suggestions that the attacks proved that Mali's government was slowing losing control of the country, a claim also rejected by president Keita in his interview to Al Jazeera.

"I'm the captain of this vessel," he said. "My decisions are my own decisions."



Read more on:    ibrahim boubacar keita  |  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.

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.