Would you like to make English your default language on this site?


AQIM uses hostages for leverage in Mali

By Jemal Oumar and Bakari Gueye for Magharebia in Nouakchott – 06/12/12

  • 2

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) are attempting to use kidnapped Algerian and Europeans to forestall intervention in northern Mali.

"We will oppose the international threat against us by engaging in combat and jihad," Ahmed Ould Amer, emir of MUJAO's Osama Bin Laden brigade and a member of the group's Shura Council, said on Monday (December 3rd)

The Mali-based terrorists are "trying to pressure the Algerian government by exploiting the suffering of the kidnapped diplomats' families", said analyst Abderrehman Ould Dah, "especially since the execution of Algerian vice-consul Taher Touati didn't influence the Algerian government's position and didn't make it give in to conditions".

"MUJAO fears that Algeria won't respond to calls for negotiations, and in this way, other regional governments may adopt the same approach; something that would undoubtedly lead to the failure of the hostage-taking business," he concluded.

MUJAO is not the only terror group in Mali attempting to use hostages to ward off military action by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

AQIM is also trying to play the same card, as evidenced by comments from leader Abdelmalek Droukdel (aka Abou Moussaab Abdelouadoud) to Sahara Media last Saturday.

Addressing the families of French hostages, Droukdel said, "President Hollande is putting the lives of French hostages in danger by adopting a policy of running forward." He added that the French president is "preparing for military intervention, and thus is digging graves for the French hostages who are held by our group."

"If the hostages had included one of his own relatives, he wouldn't have put their lives in danger by entering into the scorching desert war," the terror leader said.

Journalist Ibrahim Ould Nafie told Magharebia that the statements from Droukdel were just "propaganda and exploitation of hostages' families' feelings", adding it was an attempt to turn the victims' relatives against the French government.

According to Jidou Ould Sidi, a journalist specialising in security matters, the security situation in the Sahel has deteriorated in recent months and that the people of the region are paying the price.

"Even aid workers are being forced to leave the area, which has become very dangerous," Ould Sidi added.

Politics professor Ba Mamadou echoed the sentiment, saying that "for some months now, a number of international humanitarian organisations have put a stop to all movements by their Western employees in the Gao region of north-eastern Mali."

"Some international NGOs are working in great secrecy, using vehicles without license plates to continue their operations more safely in the region," Mamadou added. "It is in Gao that the situation is most worrying at the moment, but other regions of Mali have also been put on alert."

What do you think of this article?


Subscribe to our newsletter and get Magharebia's latest articles delivered to your inbox.


Anonymous thumb

You are not signed in. Anonymous comments are subject to moderation. Sign up to have your comment posted immediately - Learn more

Or post your comment using:


  1. Anonymous thumb

    kader benmeghsoul 2013-3-2

    According to the debates here and there about the dirty war taking shape in northern Mali, it would seem that it should be waged totally, not just against the few isolated terrorist groups. There is no difference between these groups because they are all motivated in the name of jihad and do their work in the name of Allah—and this is to get rich, smuggle and kill innocent people. There is no AQIM, no MNLA, no Ansar Dine. It's MUJAO that counts. They are all scum. We need to target them and beat them down with very heavy weaponry. Quit using gas and atomic weapons to infect the region. There is no negotiating with people of this race. So, like Hitler used them against the Jews to destroy them, this is the way we should act. Hitler's methods are not appreciated because they were inhumane, but against this savage horde, it's the one and only method. Neither human rights activists, nor Amnesty International will contradict this approach because one does not defend savage murderers. The laws must necessarily be changed. The criminals are killing people and hiding behind international law. This world needs to change its attitude toward all types of murder. Humanism has taken a large blow because of this.


  2. Anonymous thumb

    Yacine 2012-12-7

    The evolution of the situation in northern Mali as of late is forcing me to ask the following question: (1) There are proponents of a dialogue between all Malians who are saying that the Malians need to stand against the terrorist groups and put themselves under Bamako’s authority. The goal is to isolate the terrorists in order to maybe be able to engage in targeted military actions. This option leads one to suppose that the MNLA and Ansar Eddine’s armed men will fight alongside the Malian army. The proponents of this approach are Algeria, Mauritania, the USA, Burkina Faso, Great Britain, Chad and (the white) part of northern Mali’s population. (2) There are proponents of a total war (the warmongers), who are saying let’s engage in war right away against the armed men, Malian or otherwise, in northern Mali, which means the MNLA, Ansar Eddine, AQIM and MUJAO. The proponents of this approach are France in particular, the Ivory Coast, Niger, Senegal and a large part of the black population of southern Mali, namely the Bambara. My question is as follows: Why is it that the terrorist groups with MUJAO at their helm are harassing Algeria and Mauritania, two countries in favour of dialogue, as of late and not proponents of a total war given that these terrorists want to get money from the ECOWAS troops like they did with the Malian army?