In a new video purportedly released by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), two men accused of spying against AQIM for France are executed somewhere in the Sahara Desert. AQIM is also known as Al-Qaeda in Mali.
The video was released late December 7 and is titled simply “The Traitors.” It is the second AQIM video to come out of northwestern Africa this month, with two hostage videos released on December 2 showing that Swedish citizen Johan Gustafsson and South African citizen Stephen McGown are still alive despite having been held ransom since November 2011.
Al-Qaeda has been making news in the Maghreb as they jostle for power with the Islamic State, whom they are currently at war against. Most recently, Al-Qaeda gunmen stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali and killed as many as 20 people. The massacre was carried out by an al-Qaeda affiliate group known as al-Mourabitoun. al-Mourabitoun is an African militant jihadist group from the northern Mali regions of Timbuktu, Kidal, and Gao. According to the the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium, al-Mourabitoun was “created as a result of a merger between notorious [al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb]… and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (Mujwa).” The Maghreb is normally defined as much of the land of western North Africa or Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. The term maghrib is Arabic for “sunset,” which is synonymous for “west,” and is where the region gets its name.
In the new video “The Traitors,” various jihadist rhetoric is stated by AQIM militants in interviews before the alleged French spies are introduced. One is beheaded and another is shot execution-style.
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