US News Trial of the Bamako attacks in 2015: a "revenge" after Charlie Hebdo

22:05  28 october  2020
22:05  28 october  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

"He was right to talk about it": at the Charlie Hebdo trial, a tribute paid to Samuel Paty

 The teacher "died simply because he transmitted to his students what freedom of thought represented", declared the president of the special assize court.

Le jihadiste mauritanien Fawaz Ould Ahmed, le 21 avril 2016 à Bamako © STRINGER The Mauritanian jihadist Fawaz Ould Ahmed, April 21, 2016 in Bamako

A Mauritanian jihadist tried in Mali claimed Wednesday two attacks which bloodied Bamako in 2015, saying he was "proud" to have acted "out of revenge" after the publication of caricatures of the prophet of Islam by the French weekly Charlie Hebdo.

In a macabre story and almost devoid of regret before the Bamako Assize Court, where he has been appearing since Tuesday, "Ibrahim 10" confirmed having committed the March 2015 attack on the bar-restaurant La Terrasse (5 dead, including two Europeans), then for organizing the attack on the Radisson hotel (20 killed) on November 20 of the same year.

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Des soldats en position devant l'hôtel Radisson Blu, le 20 novembre 2015 à Bamako, au Mali © Sebastien RIEUSSEC Soldiers in position in front of the Radisson Blu hotel, November 20, 2015 in Bamako, Mali

"It was we who did it, Al-Mourabitoune", declared Fawaz Ould Ahmed, his real name, first questioned about the attack on La Terrasse, in reference to the group of Algerian Mokhtar Belmokhtar, linked to Al-Qaeda. "We are not ashamed, we are proud. For the revenge of the prophet, after what they did to Charlie Hebdo. It's the photos, the caricatures," he added.

Le président Emmanuel Macron rend hommage au professeur assassiné Samuel Paty le 21 octobre 2020 dans la cour de la Sorbonne à Paris © Francois Mori President Emmanuel Macron pays homage to the assassinated professor Samuel Paty on October 21, 2020 in the courtyard of the Sorbonne in Paris

In his claim at the time, Al-Mourabitoune said he wanted to avenge his "prophet of the 'A disbelieving West which insulted and mocked him,' referring to the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, as well as one of its leaders, Ahmed el-Tilemsi, killed by the French army in northern Mali.

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Belmokhtar himself, one of the most important jihadist leaders in the Sahel, was then given for dead in a French airstrike in Libya in November 2016, information however never officially confirmed.

"And unfortunately, it is not finished. It still continues", continued "Ibrahim 10", about the current controversy around the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo.

During the tribute ceremony to Samuel Paty, a history professor beheaded near Paris on October 16 in an Islamist attack for showing his students caricatures of the prophet of Islam, President Emmanuel Macron promised that the France would not give up these drawings, causing a wave of anger in the Arab-Muslim world.

Des policiers devant le bar-restaurant © HABIBOU KOUYATE Police officers in front of the bar-restaurant "La Terrasse" where an attack took place on March 7, 2015 in Bamako, Mali

- "Everything that moves" -

The defendant takes advantage of his platform to , talkative, tell that after having drunk a soda in a "maquis", an outdoor bar, he went to La Terrasse then "gave 2,000 CFA francs (3 euros) to the guard to get in, a pistol, a Kalashnikov and grenades hidden in a bag.

Caricatures. Demonstrations across the Muslim world against France

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In the establishment, he spots "about fifteen people", goes to put on a balaclava in the toilets, then takes out his assault rifle. "I fired", in a burst , “on the white.” One of them tries to run away to his car. “He was running. I fired a first time, then a second time. In the back. He fell ".

He said he was surprised to have been able to return home by taxi, without worry.

" How did you feel when shooting at the Terrace? "Asks the President of the Court, Souley Maïga.

" Nothing. These are people who deserve it. All the disbelievers who died deserve it ", answers Fawaz Ould Ahmed, arrested on April 21, 2016 in Bamako.

" But the people of La Terrasse, they are not Charlie ?, insists the judge.

"Yes, all (the French) came out to say + Je suis Charlie +. Even your IBK president was there", he recalled, referring to the then Malian president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, who had participated in the march of January 11, 2015 in Paris against terrorism.

"We are not Charlie", replies the man in his forties with the physique of a colossus, who was a lieutenant of Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

In Bamako, "all are friends of France. There were whites who were their allies. I have never regretted", adds the jihadist, who nevertheless deplores the Malian victims. "I ask the prophet's forgiveness, it is a mistake," he said, in a rare moment of contrition.

Then he confirms having organized the Radisson attack, after learning that Westerners were staying there thanks to international televisions. "We said + Hmm, that's what we're looking for +".

On his instructions, the two attackers had "shot at anything that moves", killing 20 people, including 14 foreigners, before being shot.

The trial, the duration of which has not been specified, continued on Wednesday afternoon with the questioning of the second accused, Sadou Chaka. Aged 16 at the time, he is accused of being involved in the Radisson attack.

ah / siu / sst

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This is interesting!