And of course, it’s the Algerians’ fault: “The Algerian government must take complete responsibility for the consequences of its stubborness and the misguided and irresponsible decisions of its president and its generals.”
“Mali Islamist group ‘kills Algerian diplomat,'” from al-Jazeera, September 2 (thanks to David):
A armed religious movement that has taken control of large swathes of Mali has reportedly claimed to have executed an Algerian diplomat who was kidnapped during their takeover of northern Mali, according to a statement published by a Mauritanian news agency.
Taher Touati, the Algerian vice-consul “was executed this morning [Sunday] at dawn” read the statement from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa [MUJAO] published by online news agency ANI, known for carrying reliable information on extremist groups in the region.
“The Algerian government must take complete responsibility for the consequences of its stubborness and the misguided and irresponsible decisions of its president and its generals,” read the statement.
Al Jazeera has been unable to independently authenticate the origin of the statement.
The Algerian foreign ministry was investigating the opposition fighters’ claim. As of Sunday afternoon, Touati’s family told the Algerian daily newspaper El Watan that they did not yet have any confirmation.
MUJAO had on August 24 given an ultimatum to Algeria, threatening to kill the hostage after Algiers said that they rejected its demands for the release of prisoners affiliated with the movement in a hostage swap.
MUJAO has claimed the April 5 kidnapping of seven Algerian diplomats from a consulate in the town of Gao.
A video MUJAO released on August 26 showed one of the four remaining hostages pleading with the government to save his life.
The wife of one hostage called on MUJAO to free them in a statement published by the Algerian press on Sunday, saying they were only “innocent civil servants,” and urged President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to work for their release.
Three of the hostages were freed in July.
Alessandra Giuffrida, an anthropologist at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London who specialises in the Tuareg of northern Mali, said that MUJAO “possibly” had links to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and had no links with the Tuareg movement.
“One has to be quite careful about identifying these groups using ethnic labels, particularly as we know that the majority of the Islamists who are fighting in northern Mali are not Malians,” she told Al Jazeera….