#Mauritania – #AQIM Demands Prisoner Swap for Kidnapped Gendarme

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AQIM has claimed responsibility for the Mauritania gendarme kidnap, and is demanding the release of two prisoners in exchange.

There are about 20 prisoners held in Mauritania on charges related to AQIM membership at the moment, but the message did not specify any names. The other condition of returning Ely Ould Mokhtar is that he must not return to his work with the police force. News item: [Fr] http://snup.us/oaE

This is all very well, but Ely supports a large extended family on his earnings. To further complicate this potential exchange, the majority of the eligible prisoners have recently expressed an interest in negotiating their freedom under a rehabilitation program. There are however at least two more recently arrested who were previously released under the amnesty package but then experienced a “relapse”.

Kidnapped Gendarme Ely Ould Mokhtar

Kidnapped Gendarme Ely Ould Mokhtar

Mauritanian Activists Support Kidnapped Gendarme

The “We are all Ely Ould Moctar” initiative demands the release of the officer, who was taken in a daring raid on his police post near Adel Bagrou last month. AQIM’s “Al Vourghan” brigade, led by Algerian national Yahya Abou El Houmam, was reportedly responsible for the attack.

“The gendarme is the first man to be kidnapped on Mauritanian soil,” explained Aziz Ould Souvi, the initiative co-ordinator and manager of essaha.info. “This seems to be a new development in the war launched by terrorist groups against our country.”

The campaign, which kicked off January 1st, could include a protest march to the border city of Adel Bagrou and other rallies to express support, according to organisers. Activists are also using Facebook and other social media sites to show solidarity. More than 500 national figures signed on to the initiative in just the first 48 hours, organisers said.

“We are also demanding the terrorist organisation not to harm the gendarme,” Ould Savi told Magharebia. “As far as the humanitarian aspect is concerned, he deserves care, as in addition to being a security man who was doing his duty in protecting his country, he’s a father of a daughter and the only supporter of a large family. We hope to celebrate together his return to his family.”

Meanwhile, the gendarme’s mother, Fatimetou Mint Bake, told Magharebia while crying sharply that Ely was her only son. “I hope he will return to us safely. I feel very sad about his detention. His sisters are very worried because of his kidnapping,” she said.

For their part, the Mauritanian authorities have kept silent about the kidnapping of Ely Ould Moctar, with no statement issued and no press conference organised on his status.

Meanwhile, in a letter published by ANI, Salafist activist Ahmed Ould Heinna Ould Mawloud cited Sharia law in urging AQIM leaders to release the Mauritanian gendarme.

“I call upon you to safeguard his safety, to accept our intercession to get him back sound, safe and unharmed to his family,” Ould Heinna said. “I hope that these words will be well accepted by you, and that you’ll honour your brothers by accepting this intercession without any conditions and as soon as possible.”

Ould Heinna is the brother-in-law of Khadim Ould Semane, leader of the AQIM branch in Mauritania. He was arrested several times in 2005 and 2006 before he renounced violence and the use of weapons against Mauritania and its army. According to analyst and journalist Mohamed Mahmoud Ebou Lmaaly, who conducted interviews with Ould Heinna, he is “one of the Salafists who oppose violence”.

Ould Heinna’s message “is a clear indication that al-Qaeda is losing a lot of the people who were sympathising with it or at least were understanding its ideology that calls for violence”, according to journalist Mohamed Ould Ebidy Cheriv.”A call like Ould Heinna’s may make the terrorist groups think about releasing the detained gendarme as it’s a call supported by religious citations,” said terror analyst Hamadi Ould Dah. “At least, it will put them in an embarrassing situation in case the gendarme’s safety is endangered.”

“When a Salafist like that produces sharia argumentation for not harming a kidnapped Mauritanian gendarme, it means that al-Qaeda leaders resort to wrong interpretations of sharia argumentation to serve their interests in getting money for releasing civilians,” he said.

“This is the worst use of religion; when some people use it for harming other people and getting money,” Ould Ebidy Cheriv added.


Mauritania rallies behind kidnapped gendarme (Magharebia.com).

7 thoughts on “#Mauritania – #AQIM Demands Prisoner Swap for Kidnapped Gendarme

  1. ~ #AQIM claims #Mauritania gendarme kidnap, demands 2 prisoners in swap. There are about 20 prisoners held in Mauritania on charges related to AQIM membership at the moment but the letter did not specify any names. The other condition of returning Ely Ould Mokhtar is that he must not return to his work with the police force. [FR] http://snup.us/oaE This is all very well for AQIM, but Ely supports a large extended family on his earnings, what is AQIM’s genius master plan for putting food on the table? To further complicate this potential exchange, the majority of the eligible prisoners have recently expressed an interest in negotiating their freedom under a rehabilitation program. There are however at least two more recently arrested who were released under the amnesty package but then experienced a “relapse”.

  2. 5 days later ~ WaPo “reveals” #Mauritania #AQIM kidnap video was posted on a forum. They describe it as “new” and say it was posted yesterday (Mon 16 Jan 2012) on a forum. Oh of course a forum, so beloved of terrorists, thereby lending the gloss of instant credibility by insinuation. What is the real interest in this? The magical allure of anything alQaeda-related. It never fails to get American media attention. What about the kidnapped Gendarme? Even Mauritania state media “free press” aren’t covering his plight. Really, I think Ely can do without this kind of “help”.
    Here’s the link to WaPo http://snup.us/oCC for what it’s worth.

  3. 1 month since #Mauritania gendarme Ely was captured by #AQIM ~ taken from his post on 20 Dec 2011 in a raid that leaves many questions unanswered. Chiefly, why security was not tighter, given the amount of warnings and publicity devoted to the country-wide terror alert and the vast amount of money spent on security forces. But the big question now is how senior officials of the NTC were galvanized into action, negotiated with Zintan rebel forces, and facilitated the return of an Algerian official taken hostage by his local AQIM (now being reported as not really AQIM, just local toughs with a grudge) within 24 hours: http://bit.ly/yrAo1f when Ely has been held for a month.

    We hear stories about how Ely was taken hostage because some of the guards were at soccer (!) leaving just three men, one of whom was in civilian clothes and “not wearing shoes” and the other was “in the bathroom”. Then rumours of the gendarme’s family being given money – which they then had to publicly deny, despite fears of increased danger to Ely because they had spoken to the media. Perhaps the strangest tale was of gendarmes arriving en masse at a protest of mining workers and telling people they were not there to break the strike, but were searching for Ely, giving no further explanation.

    The video you see posted above arrived via a Mauritanian news agency. The copy I have posted here was created using DivX, by the way. Some days later it made the Washington Post (see comment above) and since then has been reported in a few other English news outlets, but the Mauritanian government remains resolute in its silence. I haven’t seen anyone remark on the difference between this video, where Ely sits alone in front of an Al Qaeda banner, and the images of the kidnapped Europeans, in which AQIM members are in full view with their weapons on display. Last week, AQIM reportedly threatened to kill the European hostages.

    No one has any idea what if anything is being done to save Ely. There was talk initially of increasing patrols and border security, and the Chief of Security and Secretary General of Defence had their roles switched on Wednesday, about a week after an emergency security briefing.

  4. Kidnapped gendarme Ely Ould Mokhtar could be dead in a week, yet #Mauritania gov does NOTHING. Even the local media has lost interest. It would be different if he was from a European country who could pay a ransom and repay government help with development grants. That is what everyone is saying, and they’re right. tw:

  5. #Mauritania: #AQIM hostage makes contact. Abducted Mauritanian gendarme Ely Ould Moctar placed telephone calls to his family and the mayor of Timbedra, ANI reported on Saturday (February 25th). According to his mother, Fatimettou Mint Brahim, Ould Moctar asked that the government negotiate his release before the expiration of the al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) ultimatum.

    Ould Moctar was taken on December 20th during an attack on his police barracks in the eastern Mauritanian city of Adel Bagrou, near the Malian border. On February 11th, AQIM vowed to execute the gendarme within twenty days unless authorities freed two terrorists jailed in Mauritania.

    Mauritanian civilians on January 1st launched the “We are all Ely Ould Moctar” campaign to demand that AQIM free the hostage unharmed. The gendarme is reportedly being held AQIM’s “Al Vourghan” brigade, led by Algerian national Yahya Abou El Houmam. tw: [Fr] http://www.ani.mr/?menuLink=9bf31c7ff062936a96d3c8bd1f8f2ff3&idNews=17167

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