Sahara: AQIM deserters in the hands of the Mauritanian army

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    •    The flight of these young fighters since the beginning of the month, outside the camps in the Sahara desert of Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) was announced Sunday by military and independent sources, in northern Mali and in Nouakchott.
    •    "The 28 are still in the hands of the army and have not yet been transferred to police for investigation and action to take against them," assured on Monday, a security source in Nouakchott. They are en route to Mauritania, according to a Mauritanian military source in northern Mali.
    •    "They have been brainwashed," told AFP by telephone a Mauritanian officer on the ground. "They were put in mind that dying means to go to heaven."
    •    In early November, military sources had previously announced the abandonment of six Mauritanians, men, "very young", including teens as young as 14.
    •    November 2, a teenager, Ahmed Ould Weiss, was introduced as the first teen to have fled AQIM. He then made a statement on national television, accusing the organization of "doing things contrary to Islam."
    •    These desertions occur when Aqmi – which holds five French hostages kidnapped in mid-September in Niger – recently linked its requirements to those of Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda.
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    • Ennaharonline/ M. O.

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