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

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech 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.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs