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Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa

movement for oneness and jihad in west africa (mujao)
Northern Mali conflict

  • Battles of Gao and Timbuktu
  • Battle of Menaka
  • Battle of Ifoghas

The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa abbreviated MOJWA or the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa abbreviated MUJWA; Arabic: جماعة التوحيد والجهاد في غرب أفريقيا‎‎ Jamāʿat at-tawḥīd wal-jihād fī gharb ʾafrīqqīyā;3 French: Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest, abbreviated MUJAO, was a militant Islamist organisation that broke off from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb with the intended goal of spreading jihad across a larger section of West Africa, though its operations were largely limited to southern Algeria and northern Mali The group continued to be affiliated with AQIM and was sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council in 2012

One faction of the group merged with Mokhtar Belmokhtar's Masked Men Brigade into a new group called Al-Mourabitoun in 201345

Contents

  • 1 History
  • 2 Leadership
  • 3 Incidents
    • 31 Capture and seizure of Gao
  • 4 References

Historyedit

The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa MOJWA broke with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb AQIM in mid-2011 with the alleged goal of spreading jihad further into areas of West Africa that were not within the scope of AQIM Some analysts believe that the split of the Black African-led MOJWA is a consequence of the Algerian predominance on AQIM's leadership6 The group released a video that referenced their ideological affinity for such figures as Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar but placed greater emphasis on historical figures of West African origin, claiming to be the "ideological descendants" of Cheikhou Amadou, Usman Dan Fodio and El Hadj Umar Tall "Today we are inaugurating jihad in West Africa" claimed one of the militants, who spoke in English and Hausa7 Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Algeria, Mali, Niger and Mauritania had been present for at least a decade prior to the group's founding and escalated further following the 2011 Libyan civil war and the influx of weapons in the desert area8

Following the Battle of Gao, MOJWA warned that it would not hesitate to attack any countries or personnel that would be involved in an invasion force within the Azawad region9 On 20 December 2012, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 2085 which sanctioned the group as part of the "Al-Qaeda sanctions list"10

In the January 2013 Battle of Konna, MOJWA temporarily gained control of Konna before being forced to retreat by the Malian army and its allied French armed forces

In August 2013, a faction of the group led by Ahmed el Tilemsi merged with the Masked Men Brigade into a group called Al-Mourabitoun Another faction of MOJWA led by Sultan Ould Badi continued to operate independently45

Leadershipedit

Mauritanian Hamada Ould Mohamed Kheirou is believed by the local media to be the first chief of the group, as the principal speaker on the 12 December 2011 video Mauritanian authorities issued an international arrest warrant on 28 December 2011 Other key members were Algerian Ahmed Al-Talmasi and Malian Sultan Ould Badi, who is defined by Malian authorities as a "drug trafficker"1112 Omar Ould Hamaha was MOJWA's military commander "chief of staff",13 before being killed by French security forces in March 201414

Incidentsedit

The first appearance of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa was on 22 October 2011, when the group kidnapped three western aid workers from the Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria The Polisario Front, which administers the refugee camps, initially blamed AQIM MOJWA released in December a video of the abducted Italian and Spanish women as well as a Spanish man, demanding 30 million euros for their release The three hostages were freed in July 2012 in exchange for $18 million and the release of three Islamists1516 On 3 March 2012, MOJWA claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing at a paramilitary police base in Tamanrasset that resulted in injuries to 10 soldiers and one civilian, some of whom were in serious condition3

After warning that it would attack French targets for their role in attacking northern Mali, MOJWA were suspected of carrying out two car bombings in Niger on 23 May 201317 In March 2014, Mailian military sources reported that Omar Ould Hamaha and Abu Walid Sahraoui had been killed by a French air strike in the northeast14 Reports of Sahraoui's death were later proven false18

The Niger government accused MOJWA of the kidnapping of American aid worker Jeffery Woodke on Oct 12, 2016 Gunmen killed the two security guards at Woodke's house, captured Woodke and reportedly took him across the Mali border towards Menaka 19

Capture and seizure of Gaoedit

Further information: Battle of Gao

During the 2012 Tuareg rebellion in late March, MOJWA took part in the capture of Gao,20 along with Ansar Dine On 9 April, MOJWA claimed the kidnapping of seven Algerians from the consulate in Gao, including the consul and vice-consul21 Three days later, it issued a statement that read the hostages were being treated well "according to Sharia law" and they asked for the liberation of imprisoned members of MOJWA in Algeria in exchange for the consular staff, according to sources mentioned by the Algerian newspaper Echorouk22 Three of the diplomats were freed in July 201223 After Algeria arrested three Islamists leaders, MOJWA threatened to execute the hostages unless Algeria released Necib Tayeb, also known as Abderrahmane Abou Ishak Essoufi, a senior member of AQIM24 The vice-counsul, Tahar Touati was executed on 1 September,25 according to Agence Nouakchott d'information Walid Abu Sarhaoui, the president of MOJWA's governing council, said: "We have carried out our threat The hostage has been killed Algeria had the time to move negotiations along but did not want to We executed the hostage on Saturday"26 However, Algeria's Foreign Ministry released a statement that read: "The statement announcing the execution of the Algerian vice-consular official can only fuel surprise and justify the steps taken to try to confirm the accuracy of the information sent out on late Saturday" At the same time, Algeria's policy of not negotiation or releasing convicted terrorists from prisons was seen by El Watan as an hindrance to the release of the other hostages27 Another diplomat, Boualem Sayes, later died in captivity from a chronic illness The surviving diplomats were released on 31 August 201428

On 27 June 2012, MOJWA fighters clashed with the forces of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad MOJWA took control of the governor's palace and MNLA Secretary General Bilal Ag Acherif's residence, as well as taking 40 MNLA soldiers prisoner Ag Acherif was wounded in the fighting and was evacuated to Burkina Faso for medical treatment29 MOJWA's fighters patrolled the city's streets through the night and arrested at least three people carrying guns30

On 1 September 2012, MOJWA took over the northern town of Douentza, which had previously been held by a Songhai secular militia, the Ganda Iso Songhai for "Sons of the Land" Omar Ould Hamaha said that the group had an agreement with the Ganda Iso to govern the town, but had then decided to take it over when the militia appeared to be acting independently31 After MOJWA's troops surrounded the town, the militia reportedly surrendered without a fight and were then disarmed3132

The United States listed it a terror group on 7 December 2012 and the United Nations two days earlier3334 On 2 June 2014 the government of Canada listed it as a terrorist group35

Referencesedit

  1. ^ "Radical Islamist group threatens France" News24 AFP 3 January 2012 Retrieved 31 March 2015 
  2. ^ "Report: Islamist militants claim 2 deadly attacks in Niger" CNN 23 May 2012 Retrieved 31 March 2015 
  3. ^ a b "AFP: Al-Qaeda offshoot claims Algeria attack" Googlecom Archived from the original on 5 March 2012 Retrieved 4 March 2012 
  4. ^ a b "Belmokhtar's militants 'merge' with Mali's Mujao" BBC 22 August 2013 Retrieved 22 August 2013 
  5. ^ a b "Jihadists in Mali step up attacks, kill 7 soldiers" Long War Journal 5 January 2015 Retrieved 31 March 2015 
  6. ^ "Mali's irrevocable crisis" Al Jazeera 16 April 2012 Retrieved 3 July 2012 
  7. ^ "New Qaeda spin-off threatens West Africa" Al-Ahram AFP 22 December 2011 Retrieved 6 April 2012 
  8. ^ "Al-Qaeda offshoot claims Algeria attack" Al Jazeera 3 March 2012 Retrieved 5 March 2012 
  9. ^ "Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb issues Mali warning" Hindustan Times Agence France-Presse 1 July 2012 Retrieved 3 July 2012 
  10. ^ "Resolution 2085 2012" UN Security Council 20 December 2012 Retrieved 23 January 2013 
  11. ^ "Terrorists, traffickers forge union in African desert" Maghaberia 24 February 2012 Retrieved 6 April 2012 
  12. ^ "Al-Qaeda splinter group reveals internal erosion" Maghaberia 30 December 2011 Retrieved 6 April 2012 
  13. ^ Thiolay, Boris 3–9 October 2012, "Le djihad du "Barbu rouge"", L'Express in French, pp 40–41 
  14. ^ a b Diallo, Tiemoko 14 March 2014, French air strikes kill wanted Islamist militant 'Red Beard' in Mali, Reuters, retrieved 15 March 2014 
  15. ^ "AFP: Islamists want 30 mln euros to free Western hostages: source" TimesLivecoza 3 March 2012 Archived from the original on 5 March 2012 Retrieved 31 July 2012 
  16. ^ "Mali Islamists release Spanish, Italian hostages" Al Arabiya 18 July 2012 Retrieved 31 July 2012 
  17. ^ "Armed group claims Niger suicide attacks" Al Jazeera Retrieved 20 May 2015 
  18. ^ "Militant Group Says It Has Romanian Hostage" The New York Times 19 May 2015 
  19. ^ ""Niger : ce que l’on sait de Jeffery Woodke, l’Américain enlevé dans le centre du pays"" "Le Monde" 16 October 2016 Retrieved 8 February 2017 
  20. ^ "Rebels seize Timbuktu as junta promises poll" The Sydney Morning Herald 4 March 2012 Retrieved 4 March 2012 
  21. ^ "Un groupe dissident d’AQMI revendique le rapt" in French El Watan 9 April 2012 Retrieved 12 April 2012 
  22. ^ "Les sept diplomates enlevés au Mali se portent bien" in French Echorouk 11 April 2012 Retrieved 12 April 2012 
  23. ^ "AFP: Mali Islamists 'free three Algerian hostages'" Google 12 July 2012 Retrieved 7 November 2012 
  24. ^ "Islamist rebels in Mali claim execution of kidnapped Algerian diplomat" Middle East Online 2 September 2012 Retrieved 3 September 2012 
  25. ^ "AFP: Mali Islamists say Algerian diplomat executed" Google 2 September 2012 Retrieved 7 November 2012 
  26. ^ AFP 1 September 2012 "Mali Islamists say Algerian diplomat executed" AFP Retrieved 3 September 2012 
  27. ^ Yasmine Ryan 3 September 2012 "Algeria baffled by reported diplomat murder" Al Jazeera Retrieved 7 November 2012 
  28. ^ "Algerian diplomats freed after two years' captivity in Mali" Yahoo News 30 August 2014 Retrieved 20 May 2015 
  29. ^ Serge Daniel 27 June 2012 "Islamists seize north Mali town, at least 21 dead in clashes" Google Agence France-Presse Retrieved 27 June 2012 
  30. ^ "Tuareg rebels driven out of Timbuktu" Al Jazeera 29 June 2012 Retrieved 31 July 2012 
  31. ^ a b "Islamist rebels gain ground in Mali, seize control of Douentza, ousting former allied militia" The Washington Post 1 September 2012 Archived from the original on 2 September 2012 Retrieved 2 September 2012 
  32. ^ "Mali Islamists take strategic town of Douentza" BBC News 1 September 2012 Archived from the original on 2 September 2012 Retrieved 2 September 2012 
  33. ^ "Terrorist Designations of the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, Hamad el Khairy, and Ahmed el Tilemsi" US Department of State Retrieved 20 May 2015 
  34. ^ https://wwwunorg/sc/committees/1267/NSQE13412Eshtml
  35. ^ "About the listing process" Retrieved 20 May 2015 

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