Abdelmalek Droukdel, Algerian jihad veteran, was killed in northern Mali during an operation on Wednesday, the Defense Minister announced.
Mali, June 6.– In military jargon, we speak of “mowing the lawn” to evoke the operations of elimination of the jihadist leaders, constantly replaced. The man who was killed on Wednesday was more of a tree than a clump of grass. Its roots go deep into the history of Algerian terrorism, the matrix of armed groups that are swarming in the Sahel today. Abdelmalek Droukdel, 50, was the emir of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqmi).
The Algerian was the link between global jihad - he corresponded with Al-Qaeda cadres - and local jihad - most of the Islamist groups in the Sahel have pledged allegiance to him . At the start of the dark decade, he had interrupted his engineering studies to join the GIA (Armed Islamic Group), a bloody movement responsible for the campaign of attacks in France in 1995.
Expert in explosives, he climbed the ranks of the organization without ever leaving Algeria until participating in the late 90s in the foundation of the GSPC (Salafist group for preaching and combat), of which he will take the lead after having pushed the emir Hassan Hattab out. It was he who renamed the Aqmi movement in 2007, marking its internationalization.
Weakened in Algeria, Droukdel sends his katiba down to the Sahara and encourages his men to jump the borders to find refuge in the less watched Malian desert. He is the theorist of Western hostage-taking, sometimes going as far as assassination, to finance jihad. But the emir of Aqmi advocates great caution in relations with local populations.
[ Full text ]