Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Live: France says missing Algerian plane 'probably crashed'

    Read more

  • 51 French nationals aboard missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Algerian jet vanishes: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Deadly Israeli strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

Africa

High-ranking Islamists arrested in northern Mali

© AFP

Video by FRANCE 2 , Noémie ROCHE , Katerina VITTOZZI

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-02-04

Two high profile Islamist militants, one of whom was a member of a group that controlled Timbuktu until last week, have been arrested by a rival armed group.

The number-three leader of the armed Islamist group that controlled Timbuktu in northern Mali until last week, Mohamed Moussa Ag Mouhamed, has been arrested near the Algerian border, sources said on Sunday.

"The number three leader of Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith), the one who sowed terror, who ordered people's hands cut off, who supported the strict application of sharia, was arrested by an armed group," a Malian security source said.

Mohamed Moussa, as he was known in Timbuktu, is being taken to the northeastern city of Kidal, the last bastion of rebels who controlled northern Mali for 10 months before being ousted in a French-led military operation launched on January 11, the source said.

Conflicting accounts

The information was confirmed by a Kidal regional official, Abdoulaye Toure, though the two sources gave conflicting accounts on which of the area's rival groups had arrested him.

The arrest was believed to have been carried out either by the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA), a Tuareg separatist movement, or an Ansar Dine splinter group, the Islamic Movement of Azawad (MIA).

Azawad is the Tuareg name for northern Mali.

"He was the ideologue of Ansar Dine in Timbuktu," Toure said.

"He was called Ansar Dine's number three, but in reality he was the brain of the organisation, the doctrine in Timbuktu. He was arrested in Hallil near the Algerian border by a (formerly) allied armed group."

Second arrest

Toure also said a man accused of taking part in the kidnapping of a French hostage in November had been arrested in the same area. FRANCE 24’s correspondents in Mali, Willy Bracciano and Maïssa Awad, confirmed the report, identifying the suspect as Oumeini Ould Baba Akhmed, a member of the al Qaeda-linked Movement for Unification and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO).

French officials say seven French hostages are believed to be held in the area, which is near where 30 French warplanes carried out major air strikes on Sunday.

Kidal, which French and Chadian troops have been working to secure, was an Ansar Dine stronghold, but the MIA recently broke away and renounced "extremism and terrorism".

(FRANCE 24 with wires)
 

 

Date created : 2013-02-03

  • MALI - FRANCE

    French air strikes target Islamist bases in Mali

    Read more

  • MALI - FRANCE

    French mission in Mali not over, says Hollande

    Read more

  • FRANCE - MALI

    Al Qaeda silent on French hostages in Mali

    Read more

COMMENT(S)