Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Ansar Dine: We're key to Mali peace talks

06 December 2012, 15:03

Algiers - Negotiators for Ansar Dine, one of three armed Islamist groups that control northern Mali, said military action to oust the extremists was futile and that they were key to peace talks, in an interview published on Thursday.

"It is not through [military] intervention that the crisis in Mali will be resolved," the Malian Islamist group's Ahmada Ag Bibi and Mohamed Ag Aharib were quoted as saying by Algerian newspaper Liberty.

Mali on Wednesday appealed to the UN Security Council to urgently approve an international force to wrest control of northern Mali from Islamist militants and rebels, with France hoping a resolution will be passed this month.

Bamako and African and UN envoys have sought political talks with the Islamists and Tuareg rebels, but west African nations are pressing for the rapid approval of military action so the training of Malian forces can start in the New Year.

The negotiators for Ansar Dine, which is comprised mostly of Tuareg tribesman, said that excluding the group from talks was "not a good idea".

It "will complicate the task. Who occupies the land? There is Ansar Dine, Aqim and Mujao", they said, referring to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and its splinter group the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa.

The Islamists have imposed a brutal form of sharia Islamic law, stoning unmarried couples, amputating thieves' hands and whipping drinkers and smokers.

Humanitarian consequences

"Nothing can be done without Ansar Dine. It occupies the land. We are Malians, we are practicing Muslims and we want to live our Islam as we choose, in our area.

"If it is not Ansar Dine, who will negotiate? We must return to the table of negotiations and find a solution to save Mali," they said.

A war in Mali would shake the whole region and would have "catastrophic" humanitarian consequences, according to the group's representatives.

"The purpose of this war is unclear. How long will it last? Will it target certain groups?" they asked, saying that the problems which can be resolved in a year of talks would take 10 years to resolve through military intervention.

Ag Bibi and Ag Aharib insisted their group has "never committed a terrorist act," and that they had "freed people who were captured," referring to a Swiss and a Spanish hostage seized in Mali's north and released earlier this year.

Mali's northern neighbour, regional heavyweight Algeria, is lukewarm on the idea of an invasion on its doorstep to drive out the extremists, who occupied northern Mali in the wake of a military coup in Bamako in March.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...