See also:
» 13.12.2010 - Algeria, Mali distrust over al Qaeda fight
» 20.04.2010 - Joint Sahara forces to fight terrorism
» 25.02.2010 - French hostage released in Mali
» 23.02.2010 - Mauritania recalls ambassador over release of rebels
» 11.01.2010 - 20 days ultimatum put on Frenchman's head
» 20.10.2009 - Mali armed to fight al Qaeda insurgents
» 17.06.2009 - Over 16 militants killed in a raid
» 03.06.2009 - Terrorist killing in Mali condemned

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Mali | Chad

Chadian troops kill jihadist leaders in Mali

Chadian President Idriss Deby receiving coffins with soldiers killed in the war in Mali

© Présidence du Tchad/afrol News
afrol News, 1 March
- The President of Chad, Idriss Deby, today announced that two of the key Islamist leaders recently terrorising northern Mali have been shot dead by his troops. At the same time, Chad mourns 26 casualties among its troops in Mali.

Chad is among the Western African states supporting the French-Malian military operation against Islamist terrorism in northern Mali. Chadian troops were among the first to enter Mali, at the same time as the French, and they are seen as the most experienced in Western and Central Africa.

President Deby today headed a memorial service to the 26 Chadian army soldiers that reportedly were killed during a larger battle in the remote Ifoghas Mountains in the north-eastern part of Mali, close to the Algerian border, on 22 February. The Ifoghas Mountains are known to host some of the few remaining retreats of the Islamists that had taken control over parts of Mali until international troops in a French-led operation forced them to retreat in January.

During the ceremony, President Deby also confirmed that the "martyrs" had participated in a battle where "two important jihadist leaders" had been killed. There already had been rumours on Malian and Algerian broadcasters that the terrorist Abdelhamid Abou Zeid had lost his life in the Ifoghas Mountains, and this was confirmed by the Chadian leader today.

Abou Zeid, an Algerian citizen, around 40 years old, has been on the "most wanted" list ever since the kidnapping of 32 European tourists in the vast Algerian part of the Sahara desert in 2003. He further was said to have plaid a key role in the Islamist conquer of northern Mali and the following rule of terror in the territory.

President Deby assigned military decorations to the deceased soldiers posthumously and emphasised that they had not given their lives without purpose. With French support, Chadian troops had "freed Kidal, Tessali and the Ifoghas Mountains," recalled the President, however adding that "the war is not yet over."

Chad and several neighbouring countries, in particular Niger, are concerned that the escaping jihadist main gain control over sparsely populated desert regions in their own countries. Both therefore supported the Malian government's call for international forces to fight the extremists, and both were quick to send in supportive troops to assist the French liberation of northern Mali in January.

Over 2,000 Chadian troops currently are engaged in the Mali military operation, thus being the largest African military contingent placed in the country.

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