Mali Islamists threaten intervention force

2012-06-30 09:20

Bamako - An Islamist militant group in lawless northern Mali, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao), on Friday threatened countries who would join a military intervention force.

Mali has been gripped by chaos since disgruntled troops swarmed the capital Bamako in the south in March and ousted the elected president of what had been seen as one of Africa's model democracies.

In the ensuing weeks, Tuareg rebels and Islamist hardliners have taken over a stretch of northern Mali the size of Afghanistan.

The Islamists, also including Ansar Dine and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, have since imposed an austere version of sharia law in northern Mali, and they have fallen out with the Tuareg.

Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States, or Ecowas, were meeting in Ivory Coast on Friday in a bid to end the crisis. The grouping is considering sending a military force of 3 300 troops to Mali.

Mujao warned that its branches "in several countries are ready to strike the interests of countries that intend to participate in the force of Ecowas", spokesperson Adnan Abu Walid Sahraoui said in a written message.

International support

"The Mujao is committed to providing all kinds of material and military support for young Muslims determined to raise the banner of Islam. The scene today is open" for jihadists, said the statement sent to an AFP correspondent in the capital Bamako.

The West African leaders gathered on Friday in Yamoussoukro meanwhile called on the UN Security Council to speed up the adoption of a resolution authorising the regional force.

The force requires international support for such an operation, and logistics support from the United States and France.

A first draft was considered too imprecise by the UN Security Council, and Ecowas is reviewing the proposal.

The heads of state meeting in the Ivorian capital renewed their "commitment to a peaceful settlement" but reiterated their decision to use armed intervention if necessary, according to the final statement.

The Mujao, for its part, claimed responsibility on Friday for an attack in Algeria - against the regional headquarters of the paramilitary police in the town of Ouargla in which one person was killed and three were wounded.


It said in a text message to AFP in Bamako that a young Algerian from the southern town of Ouargla had carried out the attack, using a Toyota 4x4 car with "almost 1 300kg of explosives".

"The cells of the Mujao branch in Algeria succeeded in carrying out a rapid punishment for the Algerian authorities," spokesperson Sahraoui said.

The Mujao spokesperson said the group accused Algeria of encouraging Tuareg rebels to go to war with it, although the secular MNLA Tuaregs had three months ago fought together with the Islamists to take control of north Mali.

The Islamists chased the MNLA out of Gao in the northeast on Wednesday after vicious fighting that left at least 20 dead, witnesses said.

On Friday the Islamists were reinforced by jihadists who arrived from Algeria, various sources said.

  • kayley.segal - 2012-06-30 11:38

    Another African Union success story...

      Jan - 2012-06-30 14:34

      what has this go to do with African Union? You sound like one of those whiners and complainers who only have negative things to say. If you dont like this country or Africa then book a flight out to Adelaide mate.

  • wayne.bayman - 2012-06-30 11:39

    Jihad this, jihad that. I wish the moderate muslims would put these extreme muslim idiots in thier place. Africa should not fear them. The AU should send in some military might and blow them to their 72 virgins.

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-06-30 12:56

      This is the age old story. The Muslims try to conquer the world to let the religion grow and than there was the Crusaders that counter that and driven them back. Now the uprising start again. The question is if their will be Crusaders again. The majority of the "moderated" Muslims, we know, are in sympathy with the idea. Dont be fooled by words an appearances. The poor normal man is the victim of all these religious idealists. These idealists that think they have the answer for mankind. Even being a religious person, I still believe that this is not the way. The song's words "what a wonderful world" comes to mind.

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-06-30 13:08

      Let me rephrase by using the word "Islamists"

      Jan - 2012-06-30 14:32

      I agree with you - most muslims secretly or covertly support islamic terrorists or fundamentalists. I have never seen muslims condemn terrorists sincerely. In afghanistan before the 2001 invasion women and girls were not allowed to go to school for gods sake! I have never seen a single muslim condemn the taliban for this but i've seen many condemn the US for its invasion...despite post invasion girls/women now allowed to be educated etc and honor killings no longer permissible.

      wayne.bayman - 2012-07-01 21:23

      FYI, i'm an atheist. I do care about freedom of religion however.

  • jaba.kov - 2012-06-30 14:46

    Islam’s supersessionary doctrine catalyzes destruction, oppression and hemorrhaging of Christians in eastern lands. While there were moments of laxity in applying this domination, Islam did not recoil from razing churches in ancient Damascus and slaughtering Christians in the Sub-Saharan plateau, inflicting atrocities in Aleppo or Mesopotamia. A potential genocidal Christianophobia is spreading through Islamic lands. Today there is only one country in the Middle East in which Christian numbers are not declining but continues to increase: That country is Israel. Ironically the Arabs nations call Israel an Apartheid state – I see the only apartheid in the Middle East to be the Arab nations themselves.

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