Algiers – Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said last month’s hostage taking at a hotel in Mali’s capital Bamako was a joint operation with another jihadist group, in an audio message posted on Friday.
“The lions of Al-Murabitoun brigade… have joined Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, so that they are one sword in the throat of their first enemy, Crusader France and its agents in the area,” said AQIM chief Abdelmalek Droukdel, an Algerian.
The attack in Bamako underlined their new unity “with blood and sweat”, he said.
Meanwhile, Al-Murabitoun, the group of Mokhtar Belmokhtar, confirmed in an audio recording that it is joining AQIM.
“It is not right that the worshippers of the cross have gathered to fight us, and we, the bearers of the Koran, are divided,” said the statement, published by SITE Intelligence Group.
The siege of the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 20 after gunmen took guests and staff hostage left 20 people dead, security sources said.
Al-Murabitoun group, an Al-Qaeda affiliate led by one-eyed Algerian militant Belmokhtar, claimed it was behind the deadly raid.
Another jihadist group from central Mali, the Macina Liberation Front, later also claimed responsibility.
The New Mail Africa