Malians flee the fighting: Heading for Mauritania, Burkina, Guinea

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SAHEL: Displaced Malians burden food-insecure hosts

Photo: ReliefWeb
Map of areas affected by fighting and subsequent displacement

BAMAKO/DAKAR, – Some 12,000 Malians have fled fighting in the towns of Ménaka and Anderamboucane in northern Mali and reached already food-insecure villages around Tillabéri in western Niger, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Niger’s capital, Niamey.

The Malian refugees are spread across the villages of Mangaizé, Chinégodar, Koutoubou, Yassan and Ayorou in Niger, according to the Malian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the bulk of them – an estimated 7,000 – in Chinégodar, which is usually home to 1,500, according to Franck Kuwonu at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Niamey.

Fighting broke out between Touareg rebels and former soldiers from Libya, and the Malian army in mid-January. Rebel groups and former Libya fighters have reportedly acquired fresh weapons as a result of the Libya conflict and have launched a new movement, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), which calls for the creation of an independent state encompassing the regions of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu in northern Mali.

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Saif al-Islam´s Silver-Plated Rifle | Jih@d

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2011/11/19 by Florian Flade

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His name is one with a very powerful and well-respected meaning – “Sword of Islam”. Yet the most prominent son of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, has never truely lived up to the meaning of his name. Maybe for that reason the Libyan opposition fighters labeled him “Saif al-Kufr” instead – Sword of Disbelief.

Today Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi was captured by captured by the forces of the Transitional Council in Obari in the South of Libya and taken to Tripolis in a plane.

For months the Gaddafi son had been living in hiding, releasing audio tapes in which he called the opposition enemies of Libya. “Go to hell you rats and NATO”, he said in a audio tape released in October. Read the rest of this entry »

Libya: The Great Escape

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September 6, 2011: Kaddafi loyalists still hold two towns (Bani Walid, population 50,000, and Sirte, population 100,000) near the coast. The rebels have given Kaddafi loyalists until September 10th to surrender. The rebels are hoping that their supporters in these towns can persuade the rebels to give up, or simply change into civilian clothes and flee. The rebels only have names and pictures of a few hundred key Kaddafi supporters, thus most Kaddafi men can just change clothes and make a run for it. The black African mercenaries from the south are having a harder time of it. Rebels have been arresting most black Africans, even though most of them are illegal migrants or legal foreign workers in Libya. Black Africans caught with weapons are usually killed. Even though the rebels still have NATO air power, going into these Kaddafi held towns will still get a lot of rebels killed. With the rebels in control of most of the country, there’s reluctance among the rebel fighters to be the last one to die. Read the rest of this entry »

Libyan, Tuareg convoy heads for Niger capital

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Niamey, Niger's capital and economic hub
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NIAMEY, Niger (AP) — Armed loyalists of Moammar Gadhafi crossed in several convoys from Libya into neighboring Niger and the toppled Libyanleader’s own security chief was at the head of one of the columns Tuesday as it rolled into Niamey, the capital, officials said.Customs official Harouna Ide told The Associated Press that Mansour Dao, Gadhafi’s security chief, was at the head of the first convoy. He said other Libyan convoys were south of Agadez in central Niger, a desert country bordering Libya and where Gadhafi has the support of many Tuareg tribal fighters. Read the rest of this entry »

Al Qaeda kidnaps Italian tourist in Algeria

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5 February 2011

ALGIERS – An Italian woman on a tourist trip to the Sahara desert in Algeria has been kidnapped by al Qaeda insurgents, Algeria’s official news agency and a government security source said on Friday.

Insurgents operating as al Qaeda’s north African wing have been active in the Sahara desert and have kidnapped several foreigners, but until now most of their activities have been in areas of the desert south of Algeria’s borders.

“It seems that this is a group which was freed from prison a few months ago and which then joined al Qaeda and has now kidnapped this Italian woman,” the Algerian security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters. Read the rest of this entry »