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Friday, June 10, 2011

Sahel Countries Prepare for Presumed AQIM Offensive

Algerian Special Forces started joint military maneuvers with three African Sahel countries to anticipate threats of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), after chaos provoked by the crumbling of the security in Libya, which put the stability of the region at stake, local media reported on Monday.

Local Echorouk newspaper on Monday quoted a security source as saying that since last Thursday, special forces from Algeria, Mali and Niger have been conducting training in a closed military zone on borders with Niger and Mali in the extreme south of Tamnaresset province, some 2,000 km south to Algiers.

The source revealed that such training are ahead of a probable joint military operation in the Sahara by the three countries, according to the recommendation of the meeting of African Sahel chiefs of staff, which urged to boost joint maneuvers.

The newspaper speculated that a large-scale joint operation is likely to be launched this summer against AQIM in the Sahara and the Sahel region, noting that the Algerian Army has set up 30 frontline checkpoints along border with Mali.

Algeria, Mali and Niger met in Bamako, the capital city of Mali, a couple of days ago to draw up a joint ground military operation to respond to the crisis in Libya and the increasingly terrorist threats in the Sahel region.

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