Algeria: one of the jihadists freed in Mali captured in Tlemcen

The Algerian Ministry of Defense announced on Wednesday the capture in Tlemcen, in the north-west of the country, of one of the jihadists recently released by the Malian authorities in exchange for several hostages, including the French Sophie Pétronin.

“The terrorist called Mustapha Derrar” was arrested Tuesday, specifies the ministry in a press release published on his site with the photo of the jihadist, after a “permanent surveillance […] since its entry via the borders ”.

“The criminal, who joined the terrorist groups in 2012, was released at the beginning of October in Mali, following negotiations led by foreign parties which resulted in an agreement,” the statement said.

Under this agreement, “more than 200 terrorists were released and a substantial ransom was paid to terrorist groups against the release of three European hostages”, deplores the ministry.

Algiers denounces “inadmissible practices, contrary to UN resolutions criminalizing the payment of ransoms to terrorist groups and hampering efforts to fight terrorism and […] its sources of funding ”.

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

Paris attached to the “peace agreements”

The Malian authorities recently negotiated, with a jihadist group fought for years by France, the release of 200 prisoners against four hostages.

The operation left a bitter taste in the French military ranks, which recorded human losses in the fight against these jihadists. France has deployed more than 5,000 troops in the Sahel, especially in Mali.

On Monday, the head of French diplomacy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, was the first senior French official to visit Mali since the August 18 coup. France and the ruling junta on this occasion displayed their disagreement on a possible dialogue with the jihadists.

While the head of the Malian transitional government evokes an “opportunity”, Paris considers this option impossible. “Let’s say it very clearly: there are peace agreements […] These peace agreements have been validated by a certain number of signatories, including armed groups, ”the French Minister of Foreign Affairs told the press. “And then there are terrorist groups that have not signed the peace accords. Things are simple ”.

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