NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania (AP) — The one-eyed terror leader Moktar Belmoktar, who is considered by many to be the most dangerous man in the Sahara, is now officially joining forces with a Mali-based jihadist group and vowing to support Islamists in Egypt, according to a statement posted Thursday.

The announcement of the alliance known as "the Mourabitounes" formalizes an emerging union between Belmoktar's followers and the group known as MUJAO, or Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa. Their statement was carried by the Nouakchott Information Agency, a Mauritanian site previously used by Belmoktar to convey messages.

The two groups said they had decided "to confront the Zionist campaign against Islam and Muslims" by uniting jihadists from the Nile to the Atlantic, spanning all of North Africa.

They vowed to "cooperate against the secular forces who reject all that is Islamist and who have forced the eviction of our Muslim brothers in Egypt."

Belmoktar, an Algerian believed to be in his 40s, masterminded the January attack on the BP-operated natural gas plant in southeastern Algeria in retaliation for the French-led military intervention in Mali.

In the attack and in the subsequent rescue attempt, 37 people, all but one of them foreigners, were killed inside the complex. Belmoktar claimed responsibility for the attack within hours, immediately catapulting him into the ranks of international terrorists.

Belmoktar, who broke away from al-Qaida's North Africa branch to form his own group after falling out with al-Qaida leaders, had long been suspected of working alongside MUJAO. The longtime spokesman for the Mali-based jihadist group is the uncle of Belmoktar's Malian wife.

Most recently Belmoktar and MUJAO claimed joint responsibility in May for attacks in Niger. Suicide bombers in Niger detonated two car bombs simultaneously, one inside a military camp in the city of Agadez and another in the remote town of Arlit at a French-operated uranium mine, killing 26 people and wounding dozens of others.

Belmoktar claims he trained in Afghanistan in the 1990s, including in one of Osama Bin Laden's camps. It was there that he reportedly lost an eye, earning him the nickname "Laaouar," Arabic for "one-eyed." He has been declared dead on multiple occasions, including most recently in March, and each time, he re-emerged to strike again.

___

Associated Press writer Rukmini Callimachi in Dakar, Senegal contributed to this report.

About News.net

Publishing Services International Limited (PSIL) is the publisher and operator of a worldwide network of online news sites dedicated to delivering fair, accurate and relevant reporting from a variety of the world’s most trusted sources – from the biggest cities to the smallest towns.

We deliver positive and powerful messages to our readers, providing up‑to‑the‑second news that matters to the individual.

Our promise is to serve communities and individuals worldwide, delivering information that hasn’t always been available to them. We will give them back a voice – a voice that’s empowering because it is theirs – and provide a platform to communicate between themselves and the world.

We believe people are not just generic demographics; they are individuals with their own preferences and curiosities. We are about understanding these individuals, listening to them, and serving them.

We are the new pioneering spirit of news – we’re not talking to everyone, we’re talking with every one.

If you want your news, your voice, your way, on your time – we’ve got news for you.

 

FAQs

Email

If you have any questions or concerns please email us on support@news.net

Phone

  • Australia, Toll Free 1-800-983-421
  • Hong Kong, Toll Free 800-906-187
  • Singapore, Toll Free 800-852-3871
  • USA/Canada, Toll Free 1-800-830-4132

Advertise With Us

Interested in being awesome?
Contact us by email or phone.

Cancel