Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mali: Update on Latest Kidnapping of Frenchman

According to AFP, the Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of Portuguese-born French national Jules Gilberto Rodriguéz Leal, 61 in southwestern Mali on Wednesday (November 21st). Leal was  kidnapped on November 20.

The abduction of the Portuguese-born Leal brings to thirteen the number of hostages that have been kidnapped by Islamic extremists. Seven of these kidnap victims are French nationals. 

COMMENT: Two groups are operating in the north, who have established sharia law. One of these groups is  the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), a splinter group from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Leal was reportedly abducted Tuesday in the Kayes region after entering the country by car from Mauritania.
The kidnapping near the Mauritanian-Malian border has raised new fears about the safety of Western nationals in the Sahel, particularly in view of the on-going military preparations to oust terrorists from northern Mali.
While the MUJAO claimed responsibility for the abduction, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Thursday (November 22) said that the identity of the perpetrators are unknown.

Road travel to and from Mail is STRONGLY DISCOURAGED for foreigners who may be high-value targets of either MUJAO orAQIM.

Additionally, foreigners are STRONGLY DISCOURAGED from traveling to Mali unless they have the capacity to successfully repel an armed kidnapping attempt by six or more experienced gunmen. This statement also is with the proviso that they are traveling in a ballistic-resistant vehicle/motorcade.