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Mauritania, an exception in the turbulent jihadist scene in the Sahel

July 5, 2020

The actions of jihadist groups led by Al Qaeda and Islamic nationals have increased in the Sahel region in recent years, particularly since the conflict that Mali experienced in 2012 after a Tuareg uprising that was quickly kidnapped. by Islamists. But despite the fact that terrorists have expanded their range of actions, there was one country that remained marginalized despite its target day: Mauritania.

The country where a G5 Sahel presidents’ summit took place this week, which also included Frenchmen Emmanuel Macron and Spaniards Pedro Sánchez, has not suffered a terrorist attack since 2011, although it had previously been the scene of several attacks in addition to the kidnapping by three Spanish helpers through Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI) in November 2009.

The common border with Algeria, which was the focus of jihadist terrorism at the beginning of the new century, prompted the militiamen to take refuge in Mauritania under pressure from the Algerian security forces, an option that was also motivated because they were part of the ranks of the At that time the Salafist group for sermon and struggle (GSPC) had Mauritanians, some with outstanding positions.

Mauritania, an exception in the turbulent jihadist scene in the SahelMauritania, an exception in the turbulent jihadist scene in the Sahel

The first attack occurred in June 2005, targeting a military base in the north of the country and fifteen dead soldiers. This was followed, among other things, by the murder of four French tourists in 2007, that of an American helper in 2009 or the first car bomb attack in August of the same year near the French embassy in Nouakchott. Even under the acronym AQMI, the group even planned to murder the country’s president, Mohamed Uld Abdelaziz, but the conspiracy was thwarted in February 2011.