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Entries in Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (4)


Mali (and Beyond) Live Coverage: At Least 78 Killed in Fighting in North

A car bomb in Tessalit in Mali on Friday (see 0750 GMT) (Photo: AFP)

See also Syria Live Coverage: Opposition Boycotts International Talks Over Aleppo Deaths
Friday's Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Parliamentary Elections set for April-June

1755 GMT: Tunisia. Thousands of protesters rallied today against Prime Minister-designate Ali Larayedh.

President Moncef Marzouki asked Larayedh of the Ennadha Party, the leading faction in the ruling coaltion, to form a Government on Friday.

Outgoing Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali resigned on Tuesday because Ennahda rejected his plan for an apolitical technocrat Cabinet to prepare for elections.

Opposition secularists accuse Larayedh of leading a Ministry of Interior which has failed to curb Islamist violence.

About 3000 demonstrators marched on Tunis' main street Habib Bourguiba raising banners hostile to the Ennahda party and Larayedh and chanting, "Larayedh out" and "The people want to bring down the regime".

Meanwhile, Larayedh has tried to assemble a new Cabinet. Fights are expected over the posts of Justice and Foreign Ministers, which independents are demanding for their preferred candidates.

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Mali, Algeria, and Beyond: A Beginner's Guide to the Bad Guys (Karl reMarks)

Mokhtar Belmokthar, a.k.a., Mr MarlboroMokhtar Belmokhtar --- The Masked Ones 

Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s name is a subtle nod towards Jean Valjean, the central character in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. (Al-Qaeda’s dalliance with symbolism is legendary.) Belmokhtar is believed to be responsible for the recent hostage-taking operation in Algeria.

The one-eyed Islamist is also known as Mr Marlboro and The Uncatchable. His group, The Masked Ones, go under various names including Khaled Abul Abbas Brigade and The Blood Battalion. 

The nickname Mr Marlboro comes from Belmokhtar’s cigarette smuggling activity. Other al-Qaeda groups have banned smoking in the areas they control. According to experts, this shows that al-Qaeda is learning from the European governments when it comes to implementing contradictory but lucrative tobacco policies.

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Mali Feature: A Beginner's Guide --- The Timeline of the Conflict


  • March 22: Mutinous soldiers led by Captain Amadou Sanogo announce they have overthrown the Bamako government, saying it has failed to give the armed forces the means to defeat a rebellion by Tuareg rebels in the north. The junta leaders detain President Amadou Toumani Toure and suspend the constitution.

  • March 30-April 1: Tuareg rebels and armed Islamists linked to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) capture a string of key northern towns, including Kidal, Gao, and the fabled city of Timbuktu. Tuareg rebels are then ousted by the Islamists.

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Mali (and Beyond) Live Coverage: French Warplanes Continue Attacks