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Friday, July 15, 2011

Possible Al Qaeda Suppliers Caught near AQIM in Mali

Two suspected Al-Qaeda backers arrested in Mali
(AFP) – 1 day ago

BAMAKO — Malian security services said Thursday they have arrested two men identified as supporters of Al-Qaeda's north African branch in the northwestern Timbuktu region.

"Our troops have arrested two men regarded as the main backers of AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) in the Sahel region. They were picked up in the Timbuktu area and transferred to Bamako. Investigations are ongoing," a security official said.
  • The source merely described them as "Arabs" who helped AQIM in its fight against the Mauritanian army by providing information.
  • The suspects also "helped buy weapons and food for the terrorists," he added.
AQIM, which has its roots in Algeria, has camps in Mali which it uses as a launchpad to carry out armed attacks and kidnappings in the Sahel desert region where the group is also involved in arms and drugs trafficking.

Malian and Mauritanian have been leading joint operations against the extremists inside Mali.
But the withdrawal of Mauritanian troops from Mali two months ago has been followed by the establishment of new AQIM units near the border.

Last month the neighbours agreed to lead another joint military operation in northeastern Mali's Wagadou forest to thwart the group's expansion.

On July 5, AQIM launched an assault on a Mauritanian army base close to the Malian border, losing six of its men.

The four nations most affected by AQIM operations -- Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger -- work closely together on security and military issues in efforts to crack down on the Islamic extremist movement's activities.

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