Al-Qaeda-linked militant faces death penalty in Mauritania

An al Qaeda-linked militant who threatened France in court is facing the death penalty in the North African country of Mauritania.

El Khadim Ould Semane is accused of leading a deadly 2008 shoot-out in the capital, Nouakchott. The action left a police officer dead and wounded other security forces.

Semane is the founder and leader of the Mauritanian militant group called “Ansarou Allah,” which means God’s supporters. His group is affiliated with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).


He is among 19 defendants on trial in criminal court, which began deliberations in their cases Wednesday, and he is one of seven people who could be sentenced to death.

“I’m a mujahedeen. I have devoted my life to this mission and I ask the court to pronounce my death and cut my body into small pieces. This will expand my reward in the hereafter,” Semane said.

AQIM believes France is its first enemy because it is helping the Mauritanian government quash the movement and in court, Semane warned France of “dark nights.”

The al Qaeda-affiliated group claimed responsibility for abducting seven hostages in Niger recently. Five are French, one is Togolese, and the other is from Madagascar.

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