Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REVISITED

Norway: Utoya massacre survivors still seeking answers

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Tunisia clashes: Police exchange fire with armed terrorists near capital

Read more

FOCUS

Ukraine's crippled elections

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Manuel Valls and the 'art of putting one's foot in one's mouth'

Read more

REPORTERS

Why does Catalonia want to leave Spain?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Canada's Coverage of the Ottawa Shootings Put American Cable News to Shame'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Burkina Faso: Govt seeks referendum on presidential term limit

Read more

FOCUS

Indian uranium mines take heavy toll on locals and environment

Read more

ENCORE!

Paris rediscovers Picasso

Read more

Africa

French citizen among jihadists captured in Mali

© France24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-03-10

French forces leading the operation to oust Islamist groups from northern Mali have captured a French citizen who was fighting with the insurgents. He is likely to be repatriated to France where he will face terrorism charges.

A French citizen was among five Islamist fighters who surrendered last week to French troops fighting to secure northern Mali.

Named only as Djamel, the 37-year-old, described as having a shaved head and long beard, was born in Algeria and became a naturalised French citizen through marriage.

FRANCE 24 reports from Mali's Ifoghas mountain range

He had been living in Grenoble in southeastern France, the city where his latest French passport had been issued.

According to security services quoted by French news radio Europe 1, he surrendered on Tuesday March 5 with five other fighters in the Ifoghas Mountains in the far north of Mali where fierce fighting is taking place.

He was handed over to Malian security forces on Friday, although it is likely he will be extradited to France to face terrorism charges.

His capture coincided with a visit by French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to northern Mali to meet French troops serving there.

10 to 20 French citizens with the Islamists

Le Drian also held meetings with officials in the capital Bamako.

According to Europe 1’s sources, on the agenda were protocols on the status of foreign fighters captured as part of the French-led operation.

Although Djamel is the only French citizen to be caught in combat operations so far, he is not the first to have been detained in Mali since Islamist and Tuareg tribal groups seized the north of the country in March 2012.

In November 2012 Ibrahim Aziz Ouattara, who holds dual French-Malian citizenship, was arrested by Malian police as he was making his way from Bamako to then rebel-held Timbuktu.

The 25-year-old, from the Seine-Saint-Denis suburb north of Paris, was extradited to France last week and charged on Friday with “criminal association with terrorist groups”.

According to French weekly the Journal de Dimanche, there are an estimated 10 to 20 French citizens among the ranks of the Islamist insurgents fighting in the region.

Most of these are likely to have joint citizenship between France and any of her former colonies – Mali, Algeria and Niger – that span Africa’s Sahel region.

Date created : 2013-03-10

  • MALI-INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

    Helping Malian rape victims break the silence

    Read more

  • MALI - FRANCE

    French troops to begin Mali withdrawal in April

    Read more

  • MALI - FRANCE

    Fourth French soldier killed in Mali operations

    Read more

COMMENT(S)