First Published: 2012-11-14

 

Ansar Dine seek to dodge war: Sharia in Kidal, not across entire Mali

 

Islamist group says it does not want to impose sharia law across entire country, but still wants to keep it in its stronghold of Kidal.

 

Middle East Online

Blowing hot and cold

OUAGADOUGOU - Ansar Dine, one of the armed Islamist groups occupying northern Mali, said Wednesday it does not want to impose sharia law across the entire country, but still wants to keep it in its stronghold of Kidal.

"We are waiving the application of sharia law across the entire Malian territory except in our region of Kidal where sharia will be applied, " Hamada Ag Bibi, a member of the Ansar Dine delegation in Burkina Faso for talks aimed at ending the Mali crisis, said.

Their statement came as African plans to send a military force into northern Mali gather pace.

The entire northern expanse of the country -- an area bigger than France -- has been under rebel control since shortly after a March 22 army coup that led to a power vacuum across the desert north the rebel quickly filled.

"We only wish for the application of sharia in zones under our control, that's to say Kidal," said Ansar Dine spokesman Mohamed Ag Aharib.

"Everything will be done through education and we are going to expand on our argument during negotiations”.

Ansar Dine, the main Islamist group in Mali which has links to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), has called for dialogue and sent delegates to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Algeria.

The movement currently occupies the sparsely populated Kidal region in the northeast of the country.

Ansar Dine and another AQIM-tied group, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, have imposed a brutal form of sharia Islamic law, stoning unmarried couples, amputating thieves' hands and whipping drinkers and smokers.

The measures have provoked international condemnation.

On Tuesday, the African Union endorsed a plan for military intervention in Mali already approved this weekend by leaders from the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The plan is to send an African force of 3,300 soldiers to retake control of north Mali if negotiations fail.

 

Egypt, France agree to step up cooperation against terrorism

Syria, Russia support UN in suspending Aleppo fighting

Pope to rebuild bridges with Islamic world in Turkey visit

OPEC meets for pivotal decision on oil output

Lebanese diva Sabah passes away

Powers to push for Iran nuclear deal before new deadline

Iraqi forces, tribesmen battle IS jihadists in Ramadi

Egypt jails 78 minors for pro-Morsi protests

US slams Assad regime for ‘continued slaughter’

Regime indiscriminate strikes kill scores in Islamic State 'capital' in Syria

Putin meets with Syria Foreign Minister in Black Sea retreat of Sochi

Britain rushes to fight terror with controversial bill

Gunmen kill 3 Egypt policemen in fresh terrorist attack

Iran lawmakers finally approve third Rouhani science minister pick

Turkey clears only suspect in alleged poisoning of former president

Huthis humiliate Al-Ahmar clan with capture of Sanaa headquarters

Christians hold out in Syria second city despite Daesh threat

Libya’s Derna emerges as new IS stronghold

Egypt to reopen Rafah border crossing Wednesday

Egypt leader begins two-day trip to France

Tribesmen blow up Yemen’s main oil pipeline

Russia trims oil output

UN chief calls for halt to Libya air strikes

Syrian air strikes on Raqa kill 63 civilians

17 killed in fatal Cairo building collapse

Egypt nabs five Salafist leaders

Essebsi leads Tunisia presidential vote

Paris pushing for 'safe zones' in war-torn Syria

New air strike hits Tripoli’s sole operational airport

Pentagon chief steps down

Saudi seeks to ‘knock out’ shale oil competitors from oil market

Death toll rises from Morocco flash floods

Yemen troops free 8 hostages from Al-Qaeda

Italy hails Egypt as 'strategic partner'

US Congress skeptical of Iran nuclear talks extension

Khartoum, Darfur rebels open ceasefire talks

Time runs out for biggest chance to resolve Iran nuclear standoff

Egypt leader heads to Italy

Morocco arrests six over online IS allegiance pledge

Iraqi forces retake areas near Iran border from jihadists

Southern Morocco storms claim eight lives

Marzouki, Essebsi set for runoff in Tunisia presidential vote

Biden wraps up Turkey visit without breakthrough on Syria

Sudan launches investigation into claims of 'mass rape' in Darfur village

Assad urges ‘real pressure’ on backers of 'terror'