Tuareg Rebellion Separatist Group, On Warpath

Two French Journalists Killed

tuareg rebellion

The Tuareg rebellion separatist group, MNLA, went on the warpath in Mali, kidnapping and killing two French journalists, who were in the middle of an interview with Ambeiry Ag Rhissa, official of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad.  After being chased by authorities, the group slit the throats of both journalists and left them in the Sahara.  The Tuareg people are Muslim, Berber-speaking and inhabit the western and central Sahara in northwest Africa.

In recent history, the Tuareg rebellion have raised money for their political agendas by kidnapping French citizens and demanding millions of dollars in return.  In September, 2010, four hostages were taken by the Taureg group.  Negotiations set these French citizens free.

“France is deeply concerned at the latest developments in Jericho and in the Palestinian Territories, and especially at the kidnapping of four French nationals.  I demand their immediate release.  The French authorities are full mobilized to this end and are in touch with our partners in the international community,” said a statement by M. Philippe Douste-Blazy, a French center-right politician and past member of  the Urban Community of Greater Toulouse.

The two French journalists, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon of Radio France Internationale, RFI, were taken Saturday in the city of Kidal by armed men of the Tuareg rebellion. When  Ambeiry Ag Rhissa, who witnessed the take-down, alerted authorities, they rushed to follow the Tuareg.

An representative of the military in Kidal who insisted on anonymity said, “Lots of military vehicles sped out of town,” the official said, “even helicopters.”  The chase did not end well, as the journalists were killed by Tuareg rebellion members by having their throats slit.

French President Francois Hollande made clear his, “indignation at this odious act.”  RFI said in a statement that the station is “in shock, profoundly saddened, indignant and angry.”

The Tuareg Rebellion received  $34 million of ransom from the act of kidnapping Pierre Legrand, Daniel Larribe, Thierry Dol and Marc Feret in Arlit in Niger.  When they were taken in September 2010 while working for French nuclear group, Areva, and a construction group, Vinci, it took 3 years of negotiations to have them released into French custody.

Three years was nothing compared to the horrific deaths of Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon.

In Mali, a region recently taken back from al-Quaida by the Mali government, an agent-brokered agreement was signed  in June, 2013 by regional powers to restore the Mali administration.  The town of Kidal is in Mali’s unstable desert north.

In some developing countries, such as the Republic of Mali or Columbia, South America, kidnappers hold on to foreign citizens until they can extract the serious money they need to continue their rebellion.  The Tuareg rebellion is one of those groups, who do not concern themselves with the blood on their hands.

The Tuareg separatist rebellion group, MNLA, is on the warpath in northwest Africa.  Do not stand in their way, for as Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon found out, a dangerous interview turned into a deadly melee.


By Lisa M Pickering


Voice of America