2 January 2013

North Africa: Ansar Al-Din Pursues Peace Talks, Mujao Name New Chief

Ansar al-Din envoys on Tuesday (January 1st) submitted the Islamist group's "political platform" to Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré in Ouagadougou, AFP reported.

The group has been involved for several months in Mali peace talks with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) lead mediator.

In related Mali news, a Benin national known as "Abdoulah" was named head of al-Qaeda splinter group Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO). The former Boko Haram envoy to al-Qaeda camps in northern Mali is said to be of Yoruba ethnicity and in his thirties, security sources said.

He replaces Hicham Bilal, who surrendered to authorities in his native Niger after quitting the MUJAO over its criminal activities, including drug trafficking.

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