The Corner

Talking Timbuktu

The nightmare in Mali gets worse.

The Guardian reports:

They were told to assemble in Gao’s market place at dusk. A man accused of using tobacco was escorted before the crowd by several members of the al-Qaida splinter group Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa.

“Then they chopped off his hand. They wanted to show us what they could do,” said Ahmed, 39, a meat trader from the town in northern Mali.

Read on, but the details are not for the squeamish. And the conclusion?

The concern… is that northern Mali’s transformation into a massive jihadist enclave could replicate the recent history of Somalia. Others warn that Islamic militants are set on establishing a caliphate (a Muslim political-religious state) across the entire 3,000-mile wide Sahel. Intelligence suggests local militia are being assimilated into the extremist structure, and that Nigeria’s notorious Islamist group Boko Haram has been seen in Mali.

Georgieva  [the EU commissioners for humanitarian aid] said: “The situation is now mushrooming, metastasising: there are around 100 little groups claiming to be involved. No one expected Boko Haram to explode in Nigeria, but once it did it was very hard to control. We could have a Somalia situation all over again if we do nothing.”

And so it goes on. 


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