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‘Uncatchable’ Algerian jihadi mastermind Belmokhtar

 ALGIERS, May 24, 2013 (AFP) Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the one-eyed Islamist reportedly behind Thursday's suicide bombings in Niger, is an Al-Qaeda veteran who was the mastermind of the devastating attack on an Algerian gas plant in January. Branded "the Uncatchable," Belmokhtar personally supervised the operational plans for the twin car bombings in Niger that killed at least 20 people, according to a spokesman ...

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Algeria hands death penalty in absentia to Qaeda chief

ALGIERS, April 23, 2013 (AFP) Jihadist leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who Chad said was killed in Mali last month, and four members of his group were condemned to death in absentia by an Algerian court on Tuesday. Four other defendants present in court were jailed for 13 years and fined 1 million dinars (10,000 euros) each, with another two sentenced to one and nine years respectively. Mohamed Lamine Bencheneb, ...

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Polisario denies Qaeda infiltration of camps from Mali

ALGIERS, April 17, 2013 (AFP) The Polisario Front on Wednesday strongly denied that Islamist militants fleeing the conflict in Mali had infiltrated Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria, as African military sources in Mali claimed. "The Sahrawi government categorically denies... that fighters from the Movement of the Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO)" have entered Sahrawi refugees camps, the separatist gr ...

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EU pledges 50 million euros to African Mali force

April 09, 2013 (AFP) The European Union on Tuesday pledged 50 million euros ($65 million) in support for the African force tasked with helping fight Islamist rebels in Mali. The international community in January promised to provide $455 million dollars to support the force, known as the International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA). West African leaders have previously estimated the long-term AFISMA fundi ...

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‘Uncatchable’ Algerian jihadi mastermind Belmokhtar

  N'DJAMENA, Chad, March 03, 2013 (AFP)  Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the one-eyed Islamist who masterminded a brazen attack on an Algerian gas field, was branded "the Uncatchable" but the desert fox has now reportedly been killed in northern Mali. Chad said its troops killed the Al-Qaeda veteran on Saturday during an operation in the Ifogha mountains, where French-led forces have been hunting Islamist fighters who ...

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Trouble Ahead for the UN in Mali?

By Benjamin Villanti Morocco World News New York, February 25, 2013 A strong international consensus has taken shape, a month removed from France’s military intervention, to turn over Mali to a UN peacekeeping operation. Yet, what doesn’t seem so clear is where the Islamist extremist fighters, who managed to take over the northern half of the country, have gone and if they’ve been really defeated. Could a U ...

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Rebels forced from Gao city hall: French defence minister

Brussles, Feb 22, 2013 (AFP) Islamist rebels who seized the town hall and governor's residence in the Malian city of Gao have been forced out, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Thursday as fresh clashes erupted in the region. "The rebels occupied the Gao city hall and the governor's residence. Mali army troops, backed up by French forces, reacted and five Islamists were killed. The situation h ...

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Witnesses accuse Malian soldiers of torture and murder

GAO, Mali, Feb 21, 2013 (AFP) In northern Mali, the country’s army frequently turns to torture and murder against people suspected of backing armed Islamist groups, according to doctors, Malian and French troops and an AFP journalist. The scale of the phenomenon is difficult to assess. Are such rights abuses the outcome of a deliberate counter-insurgency strategy in desert territory where people are more fa ...

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France bombs Islamist supply routes in Mali

by Serge Daniel GAO, Mali, Feb 04, 2013 (AFP) French fighter jets pounded Islamist supply bases in northern Mali to flush the radicals out of hiding, as Paris pushed on Monday for African troops to quickly take over the offensive. Dozens of French fighter jets carried out massive air strikes on rebel training and logistics centres in the area around their last stronghold of Kidal over the weekend in the mou ...

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France bombs Islamist targets in Mali after Hollande visit

TIMBUKTU, Mali, Feb 03, 2013 (AFP) France said it carried out major air strikes Sunday near Kidal, the last bastion of armed extremists chased from Mali's desert north in a lightning French-led offensive, after a whirlwind visit by President Francois Hollande, AFP has reported. An army spokesman said 30 warplanes had bombed training and logistics centres run by Islamist extremists overnight in the Tessalit ...

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EU to help Libya control its porous border

 BRUSSELS, Jan 31, 2013 (AFP) EU foreign ministers agreed Thursday to help Libya tighten control over its porous 4,000-kilometre land border blamed for trafficking of all kinds. "A civilian mission to build Libyan capacities in border security and management is not only important for Libya, but for the entire region," said European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who was hosting talks between t ...

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Tunisia forces deploy near desert oil sites: sources

Zarzis, Tunisia, Jan 29, 2013 (AFP) Tunisia has deployed special forces near oil and gas sites in the far south, close to the Algerian border, in the wake of the In Amenas hostage-taking attack, security sources said on Tuesday. The deployment, which began over the weekend, will reinforce military units already stationed in the desert "in order to protect oil and gas sites around the region," said a securit ...

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