Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Tunisia presidential elections: Final day of campaigning ahead of Sunday's vote

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Holiday season: celebrating a secular Christmas

Read more

REPORTERS

Argentina: The Kirchner era

Read more

#THE 51%

Are toys really us?

Read more

ENCORE!

Child brides, the people of Syria and New York’s homeless

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Pakistan in mourning after school massacre

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya: Security law approved despite disruptions in Parliament

Read more

DEBATE

Wrecked Rouble: Putin Defiant as Currency Tumbles (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Wrecked Rouble: Putin Defiant as Currency Tumbles (part 1)

Read more

Africa

Al Qaeda's North Africa branch replaces slain leader

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-03-24

Algerian Djamel Okacha has replaced Abou Zeid (pictured) as head of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in the Sahara region after the latter was killed in northern Mali in late February, Algerian media reported on Sunday.

Algerian Djamel Okacha has replaced Abdelhamid Abou Zeid as leader of al Qaeda-linked group AQIM in the Sahara region, Algerian Ennahar TV said on Sunday.

Abou Zeid was killed by Chadian soldiers in northern Mali a few weeks ago.

Okacha, also known as Yahia Abu El Hamam, joined AQIM northern Mali in 2004, a security source with knowledge of AQIM told Reuters.

“He was present at the attack against a military barracks in Mauritania in 2005, and he was also present in the killing of an American in 2009,” the source said, referring to aid worker Christopher Leggett.

Okacha, 34, is close to AQIM’s leader Abdelmalek Droukdel as they belong to the Group of Algiers, a reference to militants born in the capital region.

“Okacha is Droukdel’s right hand. They have spent 12 years together in the north, before Okacha joined the south,” the security source told Reuters.

Okacha’s priority is to reorganize AQIM after it registered the losses of two heavyweight leaders, Abu Zeid and Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the source said.

France launched a joint military campaign with some African armies in Mali in January to break Islamist rebels’ hold on the region, saying the militants posed a risk to the security of West Africa and Europe.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2013-03-24

  • FRANCE-MALI

    Al Qaeda says French hostage 'executed in Mali'

    Read more

  • MALI - FRANCE

    FRANCE 24 Exclusive: On the front lines in Mali

    Read more

COMMENT(S)