After more than a year of silence, the leader of the group Ansar Dine, expelled from Northern Mali after a French intervention, marked its return with a video calling for its followers to fight France and its allies. “We are calling on our courageous Muslim people, outraged by the French and their allies, to stand up to this historical enemy and the occupier which hates Islam and Muslims” declared Iyad Ag Ghaly.
The 23 minute 59 second long video, which is neither dated nor given a location, is interspersed with news stories demonstrating France’s economic interests in Africa. Iyad Ag Ghaly is sitting before the Jihadist black flag with the inscription “Mohammad prophet of God.”
The former Malian Tuareg rebel, who has not been seen since the beginning of the French intervention in January 2013, blamed the “Crusading West” for having “reigned in the Malian army” and accused it of perpetrating violence against populations in the north of Mali. “We are ready to unite with our brotherly fighters on Malian territory to deal with the…global infidels who are united to fight Islam in our territory” he said. Iyad Ag Ghaly also addressed fighters “from all the territories of jihad.”
The deputy spokesman for the Minister of Foreign Affairs Vincent Floreani highlighted that “The usual checks are necessary….Together with its partners in the Sahel, France remains mobilized in its struggle against terrorism, in support of the leaders of Mali and of countries in the region.”
Ansar Dine, Aqmi and a third group, Mujao, controlled the north of Mali for almost ten months before they were expelled by the French army. Iyad Ag Ghaly, an ex Tuareg rebel in the 1990s, is from the region of Kidal in the north of Mali.