Sadness in Chad as 23 soldiers were carried to their graves. The Chadian forces were part of the French Special Forces penetrating deep in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains where heavy fighting broke out. After the battle with heavy losses on both sides, 60 AQIM fighters were killed and 49 were taken prisoner by the French. It appears two top AQIM leaders were killed.

Intervention forces may face guerilla attacks by rebels in Northern Mali

(Guardian) Feb. 20, 2013 – In a document allegedly left behind by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Timbuktu, a senior commander admits that an international intervention would exceed the group’s capability and that they ought therefore to retreat to their “rear bases” for the time being.

As Mali’s northern provinces become more secure, Islamist militants will increasingly engage in targeted attacks, using asymmetric warfare to test international troops and regain the upper hand. The caves and mountains of the Adrar des Ifoghas region, for example, are ideal locations for militant groups to hide and prepare hit and run operations.

Another worrying development in recent weeks has been allegedly increasing cooperation between Islamist militant groups across west Africa. Locals in Timbuktu claim Nigeria’s rebel group Boko Haram had training camps in the city. A flyer from another Nigerian militant group, Ansaru, was apparently discovered in Gao in the abandoned home of Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the leader of the group believed to be behind the In Amenas attack on a gas plant facility in Algeria. And further suggestions have been made that Boko Haram militants might be using Chad as a rear base to prepare attacks. Chad has sent 1,800 men to fight alongside French and African troops in Mali.

Below the fold, Chadian troops kill Islamist extremist leaders Belmokhtar and Abu Zaid …

Chadian army claims it killed Islamist chief Belmokhtar

(France24) – The head of Chad’s military has announced on state television that Chadian troops deployed in northern Mali killed Moktar Belmoktar, the international terrorist responsible for the attack on a natural gas plant in Algeria that resulted in the death of dozens of foreigners.

The French military, which is leading the offensive in northern Mali, says it cannot confirm the information.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Zakaria Ngobongue read a statement saying Chadian soldiers on Saturday had destroyed a jihadist base in the Adrar and Ifoghas mountains of North Mali, killing Belmoktar.

BBC News: Islamist militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar ‘killed in Mali’

Al Qaeda’s Abou Zeid ‘killed by Chadian troops’

(France24) – One of the most dreaded leaders of al Qaeda’s North African branch, Algerian national Abou Zeid was reportedly killed by Chadian troops in Mali on February 26, 2013, Chad’s president said Friday.

“It was Chadian forces who killed two jihadi leaders, including Abou Zeid,” President Idress Deby told opposition politicians in the presence of journalists after a funeral ceremony for Chadian soldiers killed in the fighting.

Known to be brutal and fanatical, Abou Zeid – real name Mohamed Ghdiri – heads the “Tareq Ibn Ziyad” or “El Fatihine” katiba, one of the most radical branches of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), responsible for the execution of British tourist Edwin Dyer in 2009 and French aid worker Michel Germaneau the next year.

His group is believed to be behind the 2010 abduction of five French nuclear and construction workers in northern Niger. In an interview with the French weekly magazine Jeune Afrique, Pierre Camatte, a former hostage,described Abou Zeid as a “tiny, rickety man in his `50s with a goatee.” Camatte was released in February 2010 after three months of detention. But Abou Zeid’s other captives have not been as lucky.

Born in the Algerian town of Touggourt, located about 600 km south of Algiers in the Algerian Sahara, he was a member of FIS, the Algerian Islamic party that was denied an election victory in the early 1990s, triggering the brutal Algerian civil war.

He later joined the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (known by its French acronym GSPC), where he served under Mokhtar Belmokthar, another AQIM leader, before rising up the insurgent ranks.

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How Bush, Rumsfeld and Algerian intelligence helped foster the Islamist uprising in Mali

(War In Context) Jan. 25, 2013 – In an analysis appearing in the New Internationalist last month, Jeremy Keenan, professor of social anthropology at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies, explained how the current conflict in Mali is rooted in “a largely covert and highly duplicitous alliance” forged between Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and President George W Bush in the summer of 2001.

Proactive Preemptive Operations Group (P20G) with PPT presentation – 2002

Thank you President Hollande and all troops taking part in this expedition.

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