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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mali's Colonel Lamana Ould Bou Assasinated by AQIM

Suspected al-Qaeda members have killed a senior Malian military officer at his home in Timbuktu, members of his family and security officials said yesterday.

  • At least one suspect was arrested yesterday in connection with the killing of Lieutenant-Colonel Lamana Ould Bou, a security source told AFP.

"We just arrested one, if not more, of the suspects in the killing of Lieutenant-Colonel Lamana Ould Bou," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "It was indeed al-Qaeda that did the job."

  • Ould Bou was an intelligence officer who had played a key part in the arrest of several members of al-Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) when they crossed Mali's territory, according to family and security sources.
  • Another security source said that the lieutenant-colonel had been wanted by the Islamic extremists for his role in the arrests.
  • A family member said four men parked their car in front of Ould Bou's home Wednesday night and two of them entered his home.
  • "The lieutenant-colonel was sitting in the living room and one of the armed men told the other, 'It's him, it's him,' and pointed. That's how they shot the lieutenant-colonel with three bullets," the family member said.

If it is confirmed that the attack was carried out by al-Qaeda it would be the first time that the network's north African branch killed a high-ranking Malian officer.

"That's symbolic. The Islamists have understood that Mali is firmly committed to the struggle against al-Qaeda. They killed an important figure who knew them well and whom they knew well," said a foreign diplomat in Bamako.

  • The government recently announced a "pitiless struggle" against AQIM after it executed British hostage Edwin Dyer on May 31.
  • Dyer was among a group of four tourists who were kidnapped in January by AQIM, which also seized two Canadian diplomats. Four of the six were freed in April, but Swiss tourist Werner Greiner is still in captivity

The Rest @ Jamaica News Via AFP

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Al-Qaida Suspected in Death of Senior Malian Army Officer
Nana Adu Ampofo
A senior Malian intelligence officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Lamana Ould Bou, was killed at his home yesterday (11 June) in Timbuktu (northern Mali), less than two weeks after the execution of British tourist Edwin Dyer by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Ould Bou is said to have played a prominent role in the arrest of several AQIM members earlier this week and his assassination would be the first such action by AQIM in Mali. According to an Agence France-Presse report, Malian security forces have arrested a suspect in connection with the death (seeMali: 3 June 2009:).


Significance:

  • Assuming AQIM's involvement is confirmed, Ould Bou's death represents a notable expansion in AQIM operations in Mali.
  • Although AQIM (formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat) has been active in the country intermittently since 2004, it has typically limited itself to kidnappings wherein hostages have been released in return for ransom payments.
  • Now that Tuareg insurgent Ibrahim Ag Bahanga has fled the country and his forces have been neutralised, AQIM represents the major terrorist threat to the Malian government.
  • Increasingly, Mali's large, ungoverned spaces in the Kidal region and above Timbuktu appear to be exploited by AQIM as a base for operations in the Sahel, particularly Algeria and along the Niger-Mali border.

President Amadou Toumani Toure has pledged to fight AQIM "without mercy", but is hamstrung by capacity constraints. The Malian and Algerian governments have committed to greater co-operation on counterterrorism and in mid-May the Malian authorities received an Algerian military aid consignment.

Mali also leans on the U.S. Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative, which supports training, logistics and co-ordination across the sub-region.

Source Lexis Nexis

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