In reference to BooMan’s front page story – Declare the War on Terror Over, I wrote my reply in a diary – Dream On Guys. It wasn’t shocking to me as I’ve been reading about the African situation throughout the last decade.

Afghan, Pakistani jihadists ‘operating in northern Mali’

(France24) – Mali has turned into a victim of “foreign terrorist aggression” as Afghan and Pakistani jihadists train Islamist recruits in the breakaway northern region, said Niger President Mahamadou Issofou in an interview.

“We have information of the presence of Afghans, Pakistanis in northern Mali operating as trainers,” said Issofou in the interview from the capital Niamey. “They are training those that have been recruited in West Africa.”

More than two months after northern Mali fell from government control following a March 22 military coup , the region has turned into a haven for rebel groups, with a motley mix of Tuareg separatist and Islamist groups controlling different parts of a region the size of France.

Issofou’s revelation came days after French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned that northern Mali was in danger of becoming “a West African Afghanistan”.

The situation in northern Mali has sparked a humanitarian crisis in neighbouring countries such as Niger, with thousands of refugees fleeing the conflict zone amid growing fears of instability across the region.

Regional jihadist groups operate in ‘Africanistan’

The region’s two main armed groups – the Tuareg separatist MNLA (National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad) and Ansar Dine, an al Qaeda-linked Islamist group – have been in a precarious alliance in recent weeks.

Issofou said his country had information about the existence of a nebulous network of terrorist organizations that maintain links with the Somali al Shebaab group, the Nigerian Boko Haram, and the mostly Algerian-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Warning about the emergence of an “Africanistan,” Issofou said he had “specific information” about a Boko-Haram training camp in [the northern Malian city of] Gao”.

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"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

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