Militant leader Belmokhtar 'killed in Mali'

Militant leader Belmokhtar
# 03 March 2013 04:12 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Chadian soldiers operating in Mali have killed militant leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the Chadian Army says, APA reports quoting Press TV.

On Saturday, the Chadian armed forces announced the 40-year-old’s death on Chadian state television, but it has not been confirmed by independent sources.

"On Saturday, March 2, at noon, Chadian armed forces operating in northern Mali completely destroyed a terrorist base… The toll included several dead terrorists, including their leader, Mokhtar Belmokhtar," Chadian military spokesman General Zacharia Gobongue said in a statement read on national television.

Belmokhtar allegedly ordered January's attack on an Algerian gas plant, in which more than 60 people were killed.

Belmokhtar’s militant group, which splintered off of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), is known as the Signed-in-Blood Battalion, which could also be translated as Those who Sign with Blood Battalion or Signatories of Blood Battalion, but has also used the names the Masked Men Brigade and the Khaled Abu al-Abbas Brigade.

The Signed-in-Blood Battalion said the hostage-taking incident was carried out in reprisal for France’s intervention in Mali’s internal affairs and demanded an immediate end to the military offensive in Mali.

On January 11, France launched a war in Mali under the pretext of halting the advance of fighters who had taken control of the north of the West African country. The United States, Canada, Britain, Belgium, Germany, and Denmark voiced support for the move.

The French-led war in Mali has caused a serious humanitarian crisis in northern areas of the country and has displaced thousands of people, who now live in deplorable conditions.

The people of northern Mali say the French war and the ruling junta are blocking the flow of humanitarian assistance to the war-affected areas.

On February 1, Amnesty International said “serious human rights breaches” -- including the killing of children -- were occurring in the French war in Mali

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