Author Topic: Mokhtar Belmokhtar 'masterminded' Niger suicide bombs  (Read 402 times)

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Mokhtar Belmokhtar 'masterminded' Niger suicide bombs
« on: May 25, 2013, 04:56:17 AM »
Via the BBC:

Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar is reported to have masterminded the two suicide bombings in Niger on Thursday.

A Signed-in-Blood Battalion spokesman told Mauritanian news agency Alakhbar that he had "supervised" the attacks, carried out with another group, Mujao.

The bombers targeted a military base in Agadez and the French-run uranium mine in Arlit, killing 21 people.

On Friday, French special forces and Nigerien troops shot dead two militants holed up inside the base at Agadez.

Niger's Defence Minister, Kardijo Mahamadou, said they had barricaded themselves inside a dormitory along with two soldiers, who were freed during the operation.

"Our military forces and French special forces assaulted [the building] and the hostages - a total of two people - were freed," he told the Associated Press. "There were two kidnappers who were hiding in the military dorm, and both were killed. The operation is now finished."

Mr Mahamadou separately told RFI radio that eight Islamist militants had been killed in the Agadez operation and two others in Arlit, adding: "All of them were wearing belts packed with explosives."

France's Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, told BFM television that its troops had intervened at the request of Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou and that the situation had "stabilised".

A French defence ministry official also told AP that the two soldiers held hostage by the militants had been freed in the assault. Earlier, local and military sources told the BBC that they had been killed.

More at link.

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