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.


Iran wants closure of nuclear probe in order to implement deal

Bashir takes another step on path of rapprochement with Gulf countries

Iran General ‘seriously wounded’ in rocket attack in Syria

Saudi women begin first-ever campaigns for public office

Iran bars orchestra performance over women musicians

Kuwait names new acting Oil Minister in cabinet reshuffle

Number of ISIS executions hits more than 3,500 in Syria alone

‘Russia’ air strikes kill at least 18 civilians in Ariha town in Syria

EU offers Turkey cash, closer ties at migration summit

Turkey seeks to ease tensions with Moscow

Turkey protests against journalist arrests

Corbyn criticised over Syria air strike rejection

Saudi women begin first-ever election campaign

Russia prepares retaliation against Turkey

Tunisia to rethink anti-IS strategy

Cameron pushes for Britain to join Syria air strikes

Erdogan denies buying oil from IS

Lavrov says no war with Turkey after 'planned provocation'

Tunisia under state of emergency

Missing Iranian diplomat found dead in Saudi

Heavy Russia raids at site of Syria plane crash

Tunisia declares state of emergency after terrorist attack in heart of capital

Bahrain calls HRW torture report 'misleading'

Syria, Russia foreign ministers set Moscow talks

Rival Libya tribes sign peace deal to end months of fighting

Turkey reveals new cabinet of Erdogan allies

Turkey downs Russia Su-24 fighter jet on Syria border

Hopes fade away as Sudan peace talks break without deal

At least 6 dead in Libya bomb attack

Somali pirates seize Iran fishing boat with 15 crew

ISIS suicide bombers kill four in assault on Sinai hotel

Kerry visits Israel with scant hopes for major breakthrough

Hollande heads to Washington to seek support for war on ISIS

Brussels extends terror alert as US issues worldwide travel warning

UAE blames Islamists for delay in military operation in Taez

Egypt kills 5 Sudanese migrants near border with Israel

Anti-Muslim hate crimes rise 300 percent in Britain

Russia eases restrictions on nuclear cooperation with Iran

Gulf leaders to hold annual summit on December 10

Ex-Gathafi Minister arrested over murder of UK policewoman

UK boosts military spending as pressure grows to join anti-ISIS strikes

Israel bars Palestinians from West Bank settlement bloc

Iraq suspends northern flights due to danger posed by Russia missiles

Syria army advances against ISIS in central province of Homs

Pro-Kurdish leader escapes assassination attempt in Turkey