Sahara militant rejects allegiance pledge to Islamic State

May 15, 2015, 10:06 AM

RABAT, Morocco (AP) — The notorious extremist Moktar Belmoktar rejected a pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State group made by a member of his organization, suggesting splits in his operation in a statement that surfaced Friday.

Belmoktar, who is known for daring attacks and for kidnapping foreigners, allegedly said the earlier pledge violates the rules and principles of his organization that is still loyal to al-Qaida.

The statement was translated by the U.S. monitoring outfit, the SITE Intelligence Group.

On Wednesday, an audio pledge to the Islamic State on behalf of Belmoktar’s Mourabitoune organization appeared, though it was signed by another member of the group, Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi.

There is a competition between the older al-Qaida and IS to gain adherents among radical Islamic groups around the world. While many around the world have already pledged allegiance to IS, Belmoktar was long seen as loyal to al-Qaida.

Belmoktar confirmed his allegiance to al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri in the statement and said al-Sahrawi’s pledge “clearly violates the foundational statement that determined the method and behavior of the organization.”

Belmoktar was part of al-Qaida’s North Africa operation, expanding its reach deep into the Sahara and making money off kidnapping and smuggling before he split off to form his own group in 2012, the Masked Brigade.

In August 2013 he merged it with al-Sahrawi’s Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa to create the Mourabitoune (The Sentinels) that attacked a restaurant filled with foreigners in Bamako, Mali in March.

The contradictory statements suggest a split in the movement.

Several high-profile members of the group were caught and killed in the past year during French-led operations in northern Mali, where the group is believed to operate.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

World News

Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin with the remains of Army Col. Oleksander Makhachek during a f...
Associated Press

As Ukraine loses troops, how long can it keep up the fight?

ZHYTOMYR (AP) — As soon as they had finished burying a veteran colonel killed by Russian shelling, the cemetery workers readied the next hole. Inevitably, given how quickly death is felling Ukrainian troops on the front lines, the empty grave won’t stay that way for long. Col. Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and […]
28 days ago
(Instagram photo/@Clayton.Wolfe)...
Wills Rice

Arizona realtor announces new listing on ‘the top-floor’ of Mount Everest

Arizona realtor Clayton Wolfe scaled the treacherous 29,035-foot heights of Mount Everest in Nepal and announced a new listing at the summit.
29 days ago
(Photo by: Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

‘Tiger King’ star ‘Doc’ Antle arrested for money laundering charges

“Tiger King” star “Doc” Antle was arrested by the FBI and expected to appear in court Monday to face federal money laundering charges.
29 days ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in Israel for talks with political and business leaders

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is in Israel for five days of talks with political and business leaders of the Middle Eastern country.
1 month ago
A man rides a bicycle in front of a building ruined by shelling in Borodyanka, on the outskirts of ...
Associated Press

Russia takes steps to bolster army, tighten grip on Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an order Wednesday to fast track Russian citizenship for residents of parts of southern Ukraine largely held by his forces, while lawmakers in Moscow passed a bill to strengthen the stretched Russian army. Putin’s decree applying to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions could allow Russia to […]
1 month ago
FILE - McDonald's restaurant is seen in the center of Dmitrov, a Russian town 75 km., (47 miles) no...
Associated Press

De-Arching: McDonald’s to sell Russia business, exit country

McDonald’s is closing its doors in Russia, ending an era of optimism and increasing the country’s isolation over its war in Ukraine. The Chicago burger giant confirmed Monday that it is selling its 850 restaurants in Russia. McDonald’s said it will seek a buyer who will employ its 62,000 workers in Russia, and will continue […]
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Sahara militant rejects allegiance pledge to Islamic State