Overview

Also Known As:

Executive Summary:

Al-Mourabitoun (“The Sentinels”) is a violent, jihadist terrorist group in West Africa that aims to implement sharia (Islamic law). The group was formed from a 2013 merger between al-Mulathamun (“The Masked Men”) Battalion (AMB) and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO).“Terrorist Designation of the Al-Mulathamun Battalion,” U.S. Department of State, December 18, 2013, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/218880.htm. Both groups were offshoots of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).“Al-Murabitun,” Australian National Security, accessed June 17, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Al-Murabitun.aspx.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar split his AMB from AQIM in 2012.“Country Reports on Terrorism 2013: Chapter 6: Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, April 2014, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/225886.pdf. AMB orchestrated a January 2013 attack on a gas facility near In Amenas, Algeria, that killed 38 civilians, including three U.S. citizens. “Terrorist Designation of the Al-Mulathamun Battalion,” U.S. Department of State, December 18, 2013, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/218880.htm. In May 2013, AMB and MUJAO carried out twin suicide bombings in Niger that killed at least 20 people.“Terrorist Designation of the Al-Mulathamun Battalion,” U.S. Department of State, December 18, 2013, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/218880.htm.

After AMB’s August 2013 merger with the Mali-based MUJAO to form al-Mourabitoun, the newly formed group claimed that the region’s jihadist movement is “stronger than ever.”“Belmohktar’s militants ‘merge’ with Mali’s Mujao,” BBC News, August 22, 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-23796920. Al-Mourabitoun announced its intentions to “rout” France and its allies in the region.“Belmohktar’s militants ‘merge’ with Mali’s Mujao,” BBC News, August 22, 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-23796920. The group carried out attacks against French interests in the region, African military units coordinating against Islamist forces, and African civilians.

A U.S. airstrike in Libya reportedly killed Belmokhtar on June 14, 2015, although the United States has not confirmed his death.Reuters, “Libya Says 'Uncatchable' Veteran Militant Killed in U.S. Strike,” New York Times, June 15, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2015/06/15/world/africa/15reuters-usa-libya.html. Al-Mourabitoun later denied Belmokhtar had been killed and declared him its official leader in July 2015.Thomas Joscelyn, “Mokhtar Belmokhtar now leads ‘Al Qaeda in West Africa,” Long War Journal, August 13, 2015, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/08/mokhtar-belmokhtar-now-leads-al-qaeda-in-west-africa.php.

On two other occasions, Belmoktar's death has been declared. In 2013, the government of Chad announced Belmoktar had been killed in an antiterrorism operation in Mali. And in early October 2015, an Algerian news channel reported that Balmoktar’s death had been announced by an al-Qaeda spokesman in a recorded audio message.

According to the U.S. State Department, al-Mourabitoun poses “the greatest near-term threat to U.S. and Western interests in the Sahel.”“Terrorist Designation of the Al-Mulathamun Battalion,” U.S. Department of State, December 18, 2013, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/218880.htm.

Doctrine:

Al-Mourabitoun believes it has a “Shari’a-based duty” to unite Africa’s Muslims and Islamic movements against secular and non-Muslim influences, according to the Australian government.“Al-Murabitun,” Australian National Security, accessed June 17, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Al-Murabitun.aspx. In particular, the group targets France and French interests in the region.“Al-Murabitun,” Australian National Security, accessed June 17, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Al-Murabitun.aspx. The group’s stated goal is to “rout” France and its regional allies.“Belmohktar’s militants ‘merge’ with Mali’s Mujao,” BBC News, August 22, 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-23796920. Al-Mourabitoun accused France of killing “peaceful children, women and old men” during its 2013 intervention in Mali.Robbie Corey-Boulet, “Website: Terror group threatens France over Mali,” Associated Press, January 6, 2014, http://bigstory.ap.org/article/website-terror-group-threatens-france-over-mali.

Both groups originated as splinter groups of al-Qaeda’s affiliate in the region, AQIM.“Al-Murabitun,” Australian National Security, accessed June 17, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Al-Murabitun.aspx. MUJAO’s stated goal was to spread jihad across West Africa.“Al-Murabitun,” Australian National Security, accessed June 17, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Al-Murabitun.aspx. According to the Australian government, MUJAO objected to Algerian dominance of AQIM’s leadership.“Al-Murabitun,” Australian National Security, accessed June 17, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Al-Murabitun.aspx.

Al-Mourabitoun initially allied itself with al-Qaeda. Co-founder Adnan Abu Waleed al-Sahrawi declared the group’s allegiance to ISIS in May 2015.Agence France-Presse, “Belmokhtar's jihadist group in N.Africa vows allegiance to IS,” Yahoo News, May 14, 2015, http://news.yahoo.com/al-qaeda-linked-belmokhtar-group-n-africa-claims-001449854.html. Co-founder Mokhtar Belmokhtar rejected the pledge and said the group’s shura (advisory) council had not yet ruled on an ISIS alliance.Reuters, “Sahara Islamist Leader Belmokhtar Dismisses Islamic State Pledge: Report,” New York Times, May 17, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2015/05/17/world/africa/17reuters-sahara-militants.html. Al-Mourabitoun officially allied itself with al-Qaeda in July 2015, and renamed itself “Al Murabitoon – Al Qaeda in West Africa.”Thomas Joscelyn, “Mokhtar Belmokhtar now leads ‘Al Qaeda in West Africa,” Long War Journal, August 13, 2015, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/08/mokhtar-belmokhtar-now-leads-al-qaeda-in-west-africa.php.

Organizational Structure:

Al-Mourabitoun’s specific leadership structure is unknown. The group appears to be governed by an emir and a shura council that sets the organization’s agenda. Al-Mourabitoun has not publicly named most of its leaders,“Al-Murabitun,” Australian National Security, accessed June 17, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Al-Murabitun.aspx. although co-founder Adnan Abu Waleed al-Sahrawi described himself as the group’s emir in a May 2015 declaration of al-Mourabitoun’s allegiance to ISIS.Agence France-Presse, “Belmokhtar's jihadist group in N.Africa vows allegiance to IS,” Yahoo News, May 14, 2015, http://news.yahoo.com/al-qaeda-linked-belmokhtar-group-n-africa-claims-001449854.html. Co-founder Mokhtar Belmokhtar rejected the pledge a week later, raising the question of whether al-Sahrawi or Belmokhtar is more senior in the group’s hierarchy.Reuters, “Sahara Islamist Leader Belmokhtar Dismisses Islamic State Pledge: Report,” New York Times, May 17, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2015/05/17/world/africa/17reuters-sahara-militants.html. Belmokhtar revealed that al-Mourabitoun has a governing shura council, which he said had not yet approved the pledge to ISIS.Reuters, “Sahara Islamist Leader Belmokhtar Dismisses Islamic State Pledge: Report,” New York Times, May 17, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2015/05/17/world/africa/17reuters-sahara-militants.html.

Al-Mourabitoun issued an online statement in July 2015 that its shura council had elected Belmokhtar the group’s new leader.Thomas Joscelyn, “Mokhtar Belmokhtar now leads ‘Al Qaeda in West Africa,” Long War Journal, August 13, 2015, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/08/mokhtar-belmokhtar-now-leads-al-qaeda-in-west-africa.php.

Financing:

Al-Mourabitoun is likely funded through kidnapping ransoms and criminal activities, according to the U.S. State Department.“Country Reports on Terrorism 2013: Chapter 6: Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, April 2014, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/225886.pdf. The group also likely receives funding through its connections to other terrorist organizations.“Country Reports on Terrorism 2013: Chapter 6: Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, April 2014, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/225886.pdf. MUJAO had previously received funding through regional drug smuggling.“Al-Murabitun,” Australian National Security, accessed June 17, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Al-Murabitun.aspx. MUJAO had also been involved in a 2011 kidnapping of three aid workers in Algeria who were later released in exchange for a ransom payment.“Al-Murabitun,” Australian National Security, accessed June 17, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Al-Murabitun.aspx.

Recruitment:

Al-Mourabitoun largely consists of former AQIM members who left with AMB and MUJAO.“Al-Murabitun,” Australian National Security, accessed June 17, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Al-Murabitun.aspx. Al-Mourabitoun’s primary recruiting area includes northern and western Africa, particularly Algeria, Mauritania, Mali, and Niger.“Al-Murabitun,” Australian National Security, accessed June 17, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Al-Murabitun.aspx. The group’s exact recruiting methods are unknown, but one likely tactic is the promise of fighting French influence and interests in the region.

Training:

When the two groups were integrated into AQIM, al-Mulathamun and MUJAO likely utilized al-Qaeda training camps in the region. AQIM had run a training camp in Timbuktu, Mali until the camp was destroyed in an airstrike.“Al-Qaeda,” Counter Extremism Project, accessed June 18, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Al-Murabitun.aspx. Recruits ate, slept, and trained together in the camp.“Al-Qaeda,” Counter Extremism Project, accessed June 18, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Al-Murabitun.aspx. Al-Qaeda also utilizes proxy training facilities provided by like-minded groups.“Al-Qaeda,” Counter Extremism Project, accessed June 18, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Al-Murabitun.aspx.

Al-Mourabitoun’s leadership has maintained contact with AQIM, particularly with Djamel Akkacha, AQIM’s coordinator of groups associated with AQIM in northern Mali.“The List established and maintained by the 1267/1989 Committee,” U.N. Security Council, last updated May 22, 2015, http://www.un.org./sc/committees/1267/1267.pdf/. While not confirmed, the groups may continue to share training facilities.

Key Leaders

History

 

Violent Activities

Designations

Designations by U.S. Government:

October 24, 2003: The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Mokhtar Belmokhtar a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.“U.S. Designates Three Individuals And One Organization Involved In Terrorism In Algeria,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 24, 2003, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js944.aspx; “Recent OFAC Actions,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 24, 2003, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/pages/20031024.aspx. December 7, 2012: The U.S. Department of State designated the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA, also known by MUJAO) a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224.“Terrorist Designations of the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, Hamad el Khairy, and Ahmed el Tilemsi,” U.S. Department of State, December 7, 2012, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/12/201660.htm.
December 7, 2012: The U.S. Department of State designated MUJAO leaders Hamad el Khairy and Ahmed el Tilemsi Specially Designated Global Terrorists under Executive Order 13224.“Terrorist Designations of the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, Hamad el Khairy, and Ahmed el Tilemsi,” U.S. Department of State, December 7, 2012, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/12/201660.htm. December 18, 2013: The U.S. Department of State designated the “al-Mulathamun Battalion” a Foreign Terrorist Organization and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity. The State Department included “al-Murabitoun” as an alias of AMB.“Terrorist Designation of the Al-Mulathamum Battalion,” U.S. Department of State, December 18, 2013, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/218880.htm.

Designations by Foreign Governments:

November 7, 2013: Canada designated “al-Muwaqi’un Bil Dima” a terrorist organization.Currently Listed Entities,” Public Safety Canada, last updated March 24, 2014, http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/lstd-ntts/crrnt-lstd-ntts-eng.aspx. December 5, 2012: New Zealand designated “Mouvement pour l’Unification et le Jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest (MUJAO)” a terrorist organization.“Designated individuals and organisations,” New Zealand Police, May 23, 2015, http://www.police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/designated-entities-23-05-2015.pdf.
June 2, 2014: Canada designated “al-Murabitoun” a terrorist organization.Currently Listed Entities,” Public Safety Canada, last updated March 24, 2014, http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/lstd-ntts/crrnt-lstd-ntts-eng.aspx. June 2, 2014: New Zealand designated al-Mourabitoun a terrorist organization.“Designated individuals and organisations,” New Zealand Police, May 23, 2015, http://www.police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/designated-entities-23-05-2015.pdf.
June 2, 2014: Canada designated “Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa” a terrorist organization.Currently Listed Entities,” Public Safety Canada, last updated March 24, 2014, http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/lstd-ntts/crrnt-lstd-ntts-eng.aspx. June 2, 2014: New Zealand designated al-Mulathomoun a terrorist organization.“Designated individuals and organisations,” New Zealand Police, May 23, 2015, http://www.police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/designated-entities-23-05-2015.pdf.

April 2, 2014: The United Arab Emirates designated al-Mourabitoun a terrorist organization.“Government bans three alleged terrorist groups,” BBC Democracy Live, April 2, 2014, http://www.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/house-of-commons-26852754.

June 16, 2014: The United Kingdom added al-Mourabitoun to its list of proscribed terrorist organizations.“Proscribed Terrorist Organizations,” U.K. Home Office, last modified March 27, 2015, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/417888/Proscription-20150327.pdf.

June 2, 2014: The United Nations added al-Mourabitoun to its Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities list.“The List established and maintained by the 1267/1989 Committee,” U.N. Security Council, last updated May 22, 2015, http://www.un.org./sc/committees/1267/1267.pdf/.
November 5, 2014: Australia listed “al-Murabitun” as a terrorist organization.“Al-Murabitun,” Australian National Security, accessed June 17, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Al-Murabitun.aspx.

Associations

Ties to Extremist Entities:

Al-Qaeda

Mokhtar Belmokhtar is a former commander in al-Qaeda’s North African franchise, AQIM. He left the group to form the al-Mulathamun Battalion in December 2012.Currently Listed Entities,” Public Safety Canada, last updated March 24, 2014, http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/lstd-ntts/crrnt-lstd-ntts-eng.aspx; Country Reports on Terrorism 2013: Chapter 6: Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, April 2014, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/225886.pdf. MUJAO is also a splinter group of AQIM.“Al-Murabitun,” Australian National Security, accessed June 17, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Al-Murabitun.aspx. Al-Mourabitoun coordinated with al-Qaeda and AQIM in its May 2013 attack in Niger.“The List established and maintained by the 1267/1989 Committee,” U.N. Security Council, last updated May 22, 2015, http://www.un.org./sc/committees/1267/1267.pdf/. The United Nations added al-Mourabitoun to its Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities list on June 2, 2014.“The List established and maintained by the 1267/1989 Committee,” U.N. Security Council, last updated May 22, 2015, http://www.un.org./sc/committees/1267/1267.pdf/. Al-Mourabitoun released an online statement declaring al-Qaeda-aligned Belmokhtar its official leader on July 21, 2015. The statement was signed “Al Murabitoon – Al Qaeda in West Africa,”Thomas Joscelyn, “Mokhtar Belmokhtar now leads ‘Al Qaeda in West Africa,” Long War Journal, August 13, 2015, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/08/mokhtar-belmokhtar-now-leads-al-qaeda-in-west-africa.php. signaling the group’s official alignment with al-Qaeda.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

Mokhtar Belmokhtar is a former commander in AQIM. He left the group to form the al-Mulathamun Battalion in December 2012.Currently Listed Entities,” Public Safety Canada, last updated March 24, 2014, http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/lstd-ntts/crrnt-lstd-ntts-eng.aspx; Country Reports on Terrorism 2013: Chapter 6: Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, April 2014, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/225886.pdf. MUJAO is also a splinter group of AQIM.“Al-Murabitun,” Australian National Security, accessed June 17, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Al-Murabitun.aspx. Al-Mourabitoun coordinated with al-Qaeda and AQIM in its May 2013 attack in Niger.“The List established and maintained by the 1267/1989 Committee,” U.N. Security Council, last updated May 22, 2015, http://www.un.org./sc/committees/1267/1267.pdf/. Al-Mourabitoun also maintains contact with AQIM leaders, such as Yahia Djouadi, Ahmed Deghdegh, Mohamed Belkalem, Tayeb Nail, and Djamel Akkacha, AQIM’s coordinator of groups associated with AQIM in northern Mali.“The List established and maintained by the 1267/1989 Committee,” U.N. Security Council, last updated May 22, 2015, http://www.un.org./sc/committees/1267/1267.pdf/.

Boko Haram

Boko Haram has reportedly provided support to MUJAO.“Boko Haram,” Australian National Security, accessed June 17, 2015, http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Listedterroristorganisations/Pages/Boko-Haram.aspx.

ISIS

Al-Mourabitoun co-founder Adnan Abu Waleed al-Sahrawi reportedly pledged the group’s allegiance to ISIS in May 2015. A week later, Mokhtar Belmokhtar rejected the pledge.Agence France-Presse, “Belmokhtar's jihadist group in N.Africa vows allegiance to IS,” Yahoo News, May 14, 2015, http://news.yahoo.com/al-qaeda-linked-belmokhtar-group-n-africa-claims-001449854.html; Reuters, “Sahara Islamist Leader Belmokhtar Dismisses Islamic State Pledge: Report,” New York Times, May 17, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2015/05/17/world/africa/17reuters-sahara-militants.html.

Ties to Extremist Individuals:

Ayman al-Zawahiri

Al-Mourabitoun co-founder Mokhtar Belmokhtar has repeatedly sworn allegiance to al-Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri.Reuters, “Sahara Islamist Leader Belmokhtar Dismisses Islamic State Pledge: Report,” New York Times, May 17, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2015/05/17/world/africa/17reuters-sahara-militants.html. The two groups that merged to form al-Mourabitoun, al-Mulathamun and MUJAO, are both AQIM splinter groups.“Terrorist Designation of the Al-Mulathamum Battalion,” U.S. Department of State, December 18, 2013, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/218880.htm.

Abdelmalek Droukdel

Droukdel is head of AQIM, which spawned al-Mulathamun and MUJAO. He is one of the leaders with whom al-Mourabitoun maintains contact.“The List established and maintained by the 1267/1989 Committee,” U.N. Security Council, last updated May 22, 2015, http://www.un.org./sc/committees/1267/1267.pdf/.

Media Coverage

  • Al-Mourabitoun’s Emergence

    In response to rumors that Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s al-Mulathamun Brigade (AMB) had split with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM) in early 2013...
  • Mokhtar Belmokhtar

    Mokhtar Belmokhtar is repeatedly referred to in the media as one of Africa’s “best known jihadists.” Reuters, “Sahara...

Rhetoric

View All

Adnan Abu Waleed al-Sahrawi, May 18, 2015

Offering terms to the Romanian government on the release of a Romanian man kidnapped the month prior: “The Romanian government will be entirely responsible for the fate of the hostage if it does not take the opportunity given to free its citizen.”“Islamist group says holding Romanian hostage seized in Burkina,” Reuters, May 19, 2015, http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCAKBN0O41GF20150519.

Adnan Abu Waleed al-Sahrawi, May 18, 2015

Pledging al-Mourabitoun’s allegiance to ISIS and its self-appointed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: “We call upon all the jihadi groups to pledge allegiance to the Caliph, to unify the word of the Muslims and align the ranks in front of the enemies of religion.”Associated Press, “Sahara Extremists Pledge Allegiance to Islamic State Group,” New York Times, May 14, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/05/14/world/middleeast/ap-ml-north-africa-islamic-state.html.

Statement, May 2015

“The Al-Murabitoun movement pledges its allegiance to the caliph of Muslims Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (IS leader), thereby banishing divisions and dissent within the (Muslim community).”Agence France-Presse, “Belmokhtar's jihadist group in N.Africa vows allegiance to IS,” Yahoo News, May 14, 2015, http://news.yahoo.com/al-qaeda-linked-belmokhtar-group-n-africa-claims-001449854.html.

Statement, April 2015

“We, the Mourabitoun group, announce the martyrdom operation that one of our knights, Ibrahim al-Ansari, undertook at the headquarters of the Nigerian forces.”Tiemoko Diallo and Adama Diarra, “Islamist group claims attack on U.N. peacekeepers in Mali,” Reuters, April 18, 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/18/us-mali-un-idUSKBN0N90F920150418.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, March 2015

“[Claiming responsibility for the shootout attack in Mali’s capital that killed five: This attack was a reprisal attack] against the heathen West which has offended our prophet.”Associated Press, “3 dead, 12 wounded in attack on UN base in Mali,” Fox News, March 8, 2015, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/03/08/mali-3-dead-12-wounded-in-attack-on-un-base-in-northeastern-city-kidal/.

Statement, January 4, 2014

“The mujahedeen will not rest with arms crossed facing this situation, even if, today, the voice of injustice prevails.”Robbie Corey-Boulet, “Website: Terror group threatens France over Mali,” Associated Press, January 6, 2014, http://bigstory.ap.org/article/website-terror-group-threatens-france-over-mali.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, August 22, 2013

“We say to France and its allies in the region ... the Mujahideen have met and agreed to defeat your armies and destroy your plans and projects.”“Sahara jihadist groups merge, threaten French interests – report,” Reuters, August 22, 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/22/northafrica-islamists-idUSL6N0GN2OQ20130822.

Statement, August 2013

“Your brothers in Mujao and Al-Mulathameen [Masked Men Brigade] announce their union and fusion in one movement called Al-Murabitoun to unify the ranks of Muslims around the same goal, from the Nile to the Atlantic.”“Belmohktar’s militants ‘merge’ with Mali’s Mujao,” BBC News, August 22, 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-23796920.

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