Algeria: arrest of another jihadist released in Mali

A jihadist, part of the group of 200 prisoners released in October by the Malian authorities, was arrested Monday in southern Algeria. “The specialized services of the Ministry of National Defense have apprehended the terrorist El Hocine Ould Amar Ould Maghnia, known as ‘Maize'”, announces the ministry.

The press release specifies that the capture took place in Timiaouine, near Tamanrasset. “The criminal, aged 32, was arrested after careful monitoring of his questionable movements, upon entering national territory”, adds the ministry.

Algiers affirms that the captured jihadist is one of “those who benefited from the agreement which led, after negotiations led by foreign parties, to the release by the Malian authorities of more than 200 terrorists”. This operation, in October, had allowed the release of several hostages of the jihadists, including the French Sophie Pétronin.

Algiers castigates the payment of a ransom

Once again, the Algerian Ministry of Defense deplores “the payment of a large ransom for the benefit of terrorist groups, in exchange for the release of three hostages”, and castigates “dubious practices, contrary to UN resolutions criminalizing the payment of ransom the terrorist groups ”.

At the end of October, during the capture in Tlemcen, in the north-west of Algeria, of a first jihadist released by Mali, the Algerian authorities had already criticized “unacceptable practices […] hindering efforts to fight terrorism and […] its sources of funding ”.

The release of the 200 prisoners against the hostages, negotiated by the Malian authorities with a jihadist group fought for years by France, left a bitter taste within the French army, which lost several men in this fight.

Paris has deployed more than 5,000 men in the Sahel, especially in Mali, as part of this anti-jihadist fight. The troops of the Barkhane forces have neutralized about thirty jihadists in Mali in recent days. Two previous operations had already made it possible in early November to neutralize a total of around sixty fighters linked to Al-Qaeda.

Leader of international mediation in Mali, Algeria wants to revive the 2015 peace agreement between Bamako, the pro-government armed groups and the former Tuareg-dominated independence rebellion in the north of the country, the Coordination of movements of Azawad (CMA).

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