Suspected jihadist freed by Mali is detained in Algeria

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria's defence ministry said on Wednesday it had detained a suspected jihadist militant who was released this month by Mali as part of a prisoner swap, underscoring its fears of insecurity in the Sahel region. Mustapha Derar, an Algerian national, was arrested in Tlemcen after security forces tracked him from his crossing of the border into Algeria, the ministry said in a statement

Reuters October 29, 2020 00:13:21 IST
Suspected jihadist freed by Mali is detained in Algeria

Suspected jihadist freed by Mali is detained in Algeria

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria's defence ministry said on Wednesday it had detained a suspected jihadist militant who was released this month by Mali as part of a prisoner swap, underscoring its fears of insecurity in the Sahel region.

Mustapha Derar, an Algerian national, was arrested in Tlemcen after security forces tracked him from his crossing of the border into Algeria, the ministry said in a statement. Derar had joined a terrorist group in 2012, it added.

Mali, grappling with an Islamist insurrection, released scores of prisoners including suspected militants early this month, days before jihadists freed four hostages: a Malian politician, a French aid worker and two Italians.

Malian authorities have neither confirmed nor denied that militants were released in exchange for Soumaila Cisse, Sophie Petronin, Pierluigi Maccalli and Nicola Chiacchio.

Algeria defeated its own Islamist insurgency in the 1990s in a civil war that killed 200,000 people. Its defence ministry said Mali's release of militants was "impeding efforts to combat terrorism".

Both al Qaeda and the Islamic State groups have taken advantage of local conflicts to establish a presence across the Sahara and the Sahel region to its south.

Of particular concern for Algeria are two of its neighbours: Mali, where Islamists took advantage of an earlier insurgency by Tuareg separatists; and Libya, where Islamic State established a presence in the chaos following the NATO-backed uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

In 2013 a group of al Qaeda-linked militants stormed an Algerian gas production facility deep in the Sahara, demanding the end of French military operations against jihadists in Mali. Dozens were killed in the attack including the militants.

Changes to Algeria's constitution, which will be put to a referendum on Sunday, would allow its powerful army to intervene beyond the country's borders.

(Reporting by Lamine Chikhi, writing by Angus McDowall)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.