First Published: 2011-12-17

 

Bamako warns Polisario: ‘Mali is not Wild West’

 

Malian Minister warns Bamako will ‘no longer accept violation of its territorial integrity by Polisario Front’.

 

Middle East Online

Tensions flaring

BAMAKO – Bamako will "no longer accept the violation of its territorial integrity by the Polisario Front", a Malian Minister said on condition of anonymity.

“Our country is not the Wild West where they can come to kill, and kidnap people and we have already made it clear.” Next time, we will take up our responsibilities," the Minister said.

For him, the "reasons for this intrusion do not hold water. The person who was killed and those who were taken hostage have nothing to do with the kidnappers of European hostages taken in Tindouf", West of Algeria.

Armed men from the Polisario Front -- a group seeking the secession of Western Sahara from Morocco -- killed a man and abducted three others in northern Mali, local officials said Thursday.

A Malian security official said that the man was killed "in a vendetta on Malian territory by Polisario forces," identifying the victim as Mohamed Yeyia Ould Hamed, aka 'Double Head'.

The official said Polisario was claiming to exercise its right of pursuit to catch gunmen linked to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). But the official argued the killing was in fact the result of a vendetta between rival smugglers.

The incident took place in El Hank, in the district of Timbuktu, some 70 kilometres (40 miles) from the Algerian border, the official added without saying when it happened.

Mohamed Ould Taher, a local elected official, said one of the abductees was his nephew, who had no links with AQIM.

"I am the uncle of Tahar Ould El Himry, one of those kidnapped by the Polisario forces," he said. "My nephew has nothing to do with Al Qaeda. They are just settling accounts.

"Everybody here knows who AQIM's accomplices are, they even assisted in the abduction of the Europeans in Tindouf," he said, referring to the October 23 kidnapping of two Spaniards and an Italian in a camp in Algeria which hosts refugees from Western Sahara.

Ould Taher then pointed to Omar Sid Ahmed Ould Hamma, a Malian salafist with known ties to AQIM, saying: "His name is Omar al Sahraoui but neither Mali, nor Algeria, nor the Polisario are doing anything to capture him and we don't understand why."

In July 2010, Omar al Sahraoui was sentenced to 12 years of forced labour in Mauritania over the kidnapping of Spanish humanitarian workers.

According to the Mauritanian judiciary, the militant had acted as a mercenary for Al Qaeda's local franchise, whose ambit straddles Mali, Niger, Algeria and Mauritania.

He was subsequently extradited to Mali and freed shortly before the release in August that year of two of the Spanish hostages, personally escorting them to freedom, through the desert and all the way to the border with Burkina Faso.

Several regional security officials believe Omar al Sahraoui is behind the October kidnapping in Tindouf, which was claimed in a statement sent by an AQIM splinter calling itself Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa.

 

UN envoy in Moscow to save Syrian truce

UN envoy seeks to restart Yemen peace talks

Iraq reform process in limbo after Green Zone storming

US soldier feared killed in Iraq’s Kurdistan

Saudi Minister 'not satisfied' with level of female employment

OPCW warns ISIS may be making chemical weapons

French court says 'Carlos the Jackal' must face trial for 1974 attack

UN demands protection of hospitals in armed conflicts

Jewish settler who led burning alive of Palestinian teen receives life sentence

Italy ready to raise shipwreck off Libya coast

Heavy airstrikes kill dozens in ISIS Syria bastion

Deadly intra-rebel clashes rock eastern part of Syria capital

German 'jihadist' goes on trial for Syria war crimes

Number of people held in solitary confinement doubles in Israel

UN fears operation near Mosul will displace 30,000 more Iraqis

Turkey Nobel Laureate shows solidarity with veteran writer, Murat Belge

Russian FM hopes for Aleppo ceasefire in 'next few hours'

Israel Labour mulls break with British party over anti-Semitism claims

Saudi to ensure Binladin Group resolves wage issues

Tens of thousands of Shiite pilgrims flock to Baghdad shrine

EU set to grant Turkey visa-free travel in migrant deal

Syria rebels strike hospital in regime-held Aleppo

Israel destroys home of Palestinian suspect's family

Saudi women to get copy of marriage contracts

EU praises Turkey efforts to meet criteria for visa deal

Sudan claims 'sovereign rights' in dispute with Egypt

Amnesty denounces ‘shocking’ conditions in Iraq detention centre

Carnage in Iraq as deadly car bomb targets Shiite pilgrims

PKK attack kills at least one soldier in southeast Turkey

Turkey pounds ISIS positions in Syria

Five years on, bin Laden doctor languishes in jail

Top Sudan court lifts ban on leading newspaper

Iran to grant citizenship to families of killed foreign recruits

Egypt journalists hold sit-in after police raid of press syndicate

US in desperate bid to salvage Syria ceasefire

Iraq protesters quit Green Zone after unprecedented breach

Up to 100 people missing in two Mediterranean shipwrecks

Aden police chief survives new assassination attempt

ISIS claims rare deadly bombings in southern Iraq

Tight security marks world rallies to celebrate Labour Day

Yemen government suspends 'direct' talks with rebels

Russia, US in bids to freeze fighting in Syria's Aleppo

Deadly car bomb hits Turkey refugee hub near Syria border

Iraq PM calls for punishment of protesters involved in violence

Yemen government forces seize Qaeda training camp