News / Africa

Chad Says Forces Killed Top Al-Qaida Commander in Mali

This image released on December 25, 2012 by Sahara Media, shows one of the leaders of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Abdelhamid Abou Zeid in an undisclosed place. This image released on December 25, 2012 by Sahara Media, shows one of the leaders of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Abdelhamid Abou Zeid in an undisclosed place.
x
This image released on December 25, 2012 by Sahara Media, shows one of the leaders of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Abdelhamid Abou Zeid in an undisclosed place.
This image released on December 25, 2012 by Sahara Media, shows one of the leaders of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Abdelhamid Abou Zeid in an undisclosed place.
Anne Look
French and Chadian forces battling Islamist militants in Mali's remote northeastern mountains are believed to have killed a top al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb commander known as Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, though the fate of at least four French hostages that Abou Zeid was thought to be holding nearby remains unknown. 

Chad's president says Abou Zeid and another al-Qaida commander were among those killed in ongoing military operations in the area. French authorities are not confirming the reports.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

- Formed in the 1990s to fight Algeria's secular government
- Wants to rid North Africa of western influence and impose sharia
- Estimated to have amassed $100 million in kidnapping ransoms
- Most members are from outside Mali
The Algerian-born jihadist, if his death is confirmed, could be a significant blow in the ongoing war against the al-Qaida-linked rebels who seized control of northern Mali last April.

Zeid has been described as inflexible, cruel, violent, audacious, intelligent, radical and without pity. He was born in Algeria and commands a southern battalion of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, known as AQIM.  His command is known to be one of AQIM's most radical factions.

A smuggler by trade, Abou Zeid fought in a succession of armed Algerian Islamist movements in the 1990s.  He headed south to Mali about a decade ago as part of the Algerian-led Salafist movement that would ultimately rebrand itself as AQIM in 2006.

Mauritanian journalist and AQIM expert Isselmou Ould Moustapha said in killing Abou Zeid, the French and allied forces in Mali would be knocking out a formidable enemy.

He says Abou Zeid is one of the "most daring and determined" commanders that coalition forces currently face in Mali, even though Abou Zeid does not currently hold the post of "emir of the Sahara," or the chief of AQIM southern operations. 

Abdelhamid Abou Zeid

- Also known as Abid Hammadou
- A top leader of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb
- Designated a terrorist by U.S. and U.N.
- Blamed for several kidnappings for ransom of tourists in the Sahel
- Believe to be behind execution of a British and French hostage
- Led attack on Mauritanian military outpost in 2005
- Established AQIM camp in Mali to train terrorists
Moustapha says over the past decade, Abou Zeid has taken on the Mauritanian, Nigerien and Malian armies and made a name for himself engineering kidnappings in 2008, 2009 and 2010.  He characterizes Abou Zeid as a powerful field commander who could mobilize fighters as determined as him.

He rose to international infamy for his involvement in kidnapping dozens of European hostages in the Sahel, beginning in 2003.

The operations took in millions of dollars in ransoms, money that analysts say was key to funding AQIM, while all the while being known as a tough negotiator.

Abou Zeid is believed to be behind the executions of two hostages: British tourist Edwin Dyer in 2009 and French aid worker Michel Germaneau in 2010.

You May Like

Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Threatens Stability of Middle East

Ancient dispute that traces back to the Islamic Revolution fueling modern day unrest More

Shifting Demographics Lie Beneath Racial Tensions in Ferguson

As Missouri suburb morphed from majority white to majority black, observers say power structure remained static More

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Restriction is toughest since Soviet era, though critics reject move as patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Brad Naksuthin
March 03, 2013 9:04 AM


How come the French army can march into Mali and rout the Islamist in a matter of weeks...and the most expensive and best equipped army on earth has been stuck in Afghanistan for 11 years now...with no end in sight...fighting a rag tag bunch of illiterate Muslim farmers who have no tanks, no helicopters, no nuclear submarines, no aircraft carriers, no drones, no night vision goggles, no satellite communications trucks, no THAAD radar systems, no ICMBs, no SM3.....

I'm getting the sneaky feeling that US military contractors don't really want to see Afghanistan come to an end at all. so they are pushing their Pentagon minions to keep the war going on indefinitely. Ten billion dollars a month in Afghanistan is real incentive to keep us fighting for another 11 years


by: Anonymous
March 01, 2013 4:19 PM
One more down, one billion to go ...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid