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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #226  
Old 2 May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armadillo View Post
I remember with certain nostalgia when in this forum we mostly talked about
"wind sand and stars ..." routes and interesting details of the great books Sahara Overland and Mauritania avec 2cv .

Fair winds and following seas...
Too true Armadillo - I was thinking the very same. These are the worst of times for Saharan travel. As Chris Scott noted a few months back, there was a time in 2003 when we travelled much of the southern Algerian border with Niger (west to east) in one vehicle, with one satellite phone and no guide. How things have changed.
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  #227  
Old 2 May 2011
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Ennahar Online - Seven members of an AQIM support network arrested in southern Algeria
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  #228  
Old 3 May 2011
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Many stories in Ennahar today. Editor writes about the true identity of Abou Zeid. And that Germenau died of a heart attack in early July.
Ennahar Online - Mohamed Mokaddem, author of "France and armed Islamism"
He is also promoting his new book
Ennahar Online - France and the armed Islamism, by Mohamed Mokeddem
GSPC gave Chirac an ultimatum "convert to islam or else!"

I too really hope we can go back to talking about wind and traces in the sand someday.
Before we can do that, I fear the chinese will have made paved roads in all directions from Tam and elsewhere.
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  #230  
Old 25 May 2011
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Ennahar Online - 13 AQIM prisoners transferred from Nouakchott to a secret location
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  #231  
Old 27 May 2011
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Algerian troops clash with terrorists near Niger

2011-05-25 Algerian soldiers killed three terrorists during a clash Monday along the Niger border, El Khabar reported on Tuesday (May 24th). The ANP troops, operating under the command of the sixth military region in Tamanrasset, had launched a search operation after a bomb explosion struck a Niger army patrol. According to security sources, the operation confirmed successful co-ordination between Algerian and Niger security services, under the Tamanrasset joint military command.
Last Friday in Bamako, Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger agreed to form a 75,000-man security force to police the Sahel-Saharan region for al-Qaeda terrorists and traffickers. The Algiers-based Joint Military Staff Committee of the Sahel Region (CEMOC) will organise the new military force.


Magharebia.com
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Desert Crocodiles of Mauritania: http://cibio.up.pt/crocodilos/en
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  #232  
Old 27 May 2011
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So the Algies are fighting 'along the border' - - - I wonder if they ever allow themselves to cross it even just for a mile or two?
If not, bearded guys will just try to make it to the border, and they'll be safe.
Reminds me of an old western movie.

The prisoners that were transferred, I immediately thought they will be traded for the french hostages, but then maybe they are not. Perhaps they are now in a "high security" prison in the Mauri desert, sound like fun.
This 'imposing corridor' in the Mauri desert is interesting; isn't it something we should take advantage of? Let's start out from Chinguetti, go east and have two weeks of desert fun.
If the gendarmes will allow it - but they didn't mind when I was there two months ago.

Ther's a lot happening in the Sahel right now, and I am sure we don't hear but a fraction of it.
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  #233  
Old 27 May 2011
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So the Algies are fighting 'along the border' - - - I wonder if they ever allow themselves to cross it even just for a mile or two?
I understand that the Algerians are allowed 200 km across the border into Mali/Niger in accordance with the joint command rules but that on several occasions the Algerians have stopped on the border and not exercised their hot pursuit rights. No one I have spoken to can figure out why.
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  #234  
Old 28 May 2011
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Hi Richard, any source for 200 kms? Sounds arbitrary, why not do the job once you're across the actual border?
Reminds me of an old western movie where the crooks make it across the state line; or into Mejico.
Mauri army shot a suspect and buried him on the spot; his companion in the Toyota was arrested. This was near Lemgheity. And the Mauri air force destroyed two vehicles north of Chegga.
And Mauritania is investing €18 M in biometric ID cards - a first for Africa?
La Mauritanie a recours à la biométrie pour lutter contre le terrorisme (Magharebia.com)
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  #235  
Old 28 May 2011
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Richard, here's another report from Chegga
http://www.afriquinfos.com/articles/...que-178671.asp
The supposed algie refusal to cross the borders even when invited is puzzling
gives support to the conspirationists who believe Algiers is secretly running Aqim
Pls send me your direct email
pm doesn't work very well
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  #236  
Old 29 May 2011
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It is really unclear why Algeria does not cross the border. One view might be that their prime concern is to secure Algeria and getting drawn into a war in NE Mali isn't seen as the right way forward. Of course their work against AQIM will be never-ending if the AQIM HQ is left in peace.

The Chegga incident sounds interesting. The Mauri airforce bombed 2 vehicles near Chegga and a third escaped. I'm wondering what kind of kit they have to be able to have this sort of accuracy. Either way, you'd want the Mauri military to know who you were and what your plans were if you went into NE Mauri - lest you be taken out by mistake.
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  #237  
Old 29 May 2011
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I remember looking closely at the Chegga region on Google Earth about a year ago and being surprised at the number of tracks and installations in that area that did not seem to be relics of the Polisario war (Alg v Morocco/Mori).
Trafficking seems the most likely explanation (which of course does not exclude AQIM).

Ch
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  #238  
Old 29 May 2011
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Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post
I remember looking closely at the Chegga region on Google Earth about a year ago and being surprised at the number of tracks and installations in that area that did not seem to be relics of the Polisario war (Alg v Morocco/Mori).
Trafficking seems the most likely explanation (which of course does not exclude AQIM).

Ch
There are indeed many, many tracks - many more than are visible on Google Earth esp nearish 24.5 and 7.5 deg. In April there was also a lot of grass and very large herds of camels, nomad tents and several 60 series Toyotas lurking in this very flat area of NE Mauri. Further south near 21 deg and same longitude there is nothing - nasty terrain for driving though.
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  #239  
Old 15 Jun 2011
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New development

Well folks there really is something going on in the Malian desert that may be a game changer. But not necessarily meaning we can go back there anytime soon.

Malian troops are moving in and establishing checkpoints north of the river at least from Timbuktu east to Gao. They are actively hindering westerners from entering the area or going north from Gao.
http://www.maliweb.net/category.php?NID=76727&intr=

There was a meeting between Mali and Mauri in Segou to plan a campaign against the reputed Aqim camp in Wagadou forest near Nara. President Aziz said that they will mount a campaign lasting several months against aqim in northern Mali.
http://www.maliweb.net/category.php?NID=76974&intr=

"Four planes, two reconnaissance aircraft (tetra) and two helicopter gunships equipped with missiles, twenty four 4x4 (BG) all equipped with heavy weaponry on board well-armed soldiers. Among these soldiers, elements of the ETIA4 and 6 (Echelon Tactics Inter Armées), a detachment of paratroopers and commandos, the Air Force. This is the arsenal that was made visible by the Malian army to do battle with AQIM really become daring in recent times in the Timbuktu region.
Had it not been for this show of force, in Timbuktu everyone had believed in an admission of helplessness in the face of Mali AQIM. But that was without knowing the discretion of the General President of Mali, as a good soldier, trying to avoid war by all means, yet without forgetting to prepare. So much so that neighboring countries, certainly wrong, told anyone who will listen that Mali is the weakest link in the fight against AQIM band Sahel-Saharan Africa. This show of force by the Malian army last week denied all these statements.
According to our sources, the army made a general sweep of the region of Timbuktu who left town on the border of Algeria through Agouni, and Araouane Taoudenit and the city of Timbuktu to the Mauritanian border through circles Goundam and Niafunke. The method was the following: reconnaissance planes watching everything from up and vehicles searched the nooks and crannies of the territory. So on to the Algerian border on one side and to the Mauritanian border on the other. And AQIM has been found! Where did it go then?"

A meeting in Tam in September between Mali-Alg-Mauri-Niger
http://www.maliweb.net/category.php?NID=76521&intr


Meanwhile MBM is busy with loot from Libya
http://www.maliweb.net/category.php?NID=76363&intr=
"security services in the area have discovered a vast network of importing weapons of war on Niger and Algerian borders of Mali. This movement, according to our sources, would be headed by one of the leaders of Algerian AQIM, Mokhtar Belmokhtar. He keeps bulging chest every time he visits his men rearmed arsenal of brand new (that is, odorless powder) in the Malian desert. Barely 150 men in 2009, it now finds itself with a cast of over 500 elements well trained and heavily armed.
It is feared a sharp escalation in the weeks to come. Better to be prepared!"

A new book by Atmane Tazaghart "AQIM" dealing with the history, strategy and future of Aqim depicts a formative meeting
http://www.maliweb.net/category.php?NID=75838&intr=
It was held in Taoudenny Marh 18, 2008
"In the scorching heat of the desert Tanezrouft, long columns of armed men, covered with scarf, make their way among the ruins of the ancient galleys Taoudeni. The noise of their steps, rhythm regular, sustained, long breaks silence over seventy years: we are March 18, 2009. And ever since the abolition of French colonial prisons in 1938, this place has been so busy! Men scarf, three convoys arrived in successive hug. They are fifty-four fighters representing Katibat AQIM located in the vast Sahel-Saharan strip. Here they are now installed on the sand, forming a large circle around a man of 42 years, most of them meet for the first time. He called Yahia Djouadi, alias Abu Ammar. All men invited to the conclave know him by reputation and respect the high rank he occupies in the jihadist movement in Algeria, since the early 1990s. The arrival of Djouadi to head the "Command operation" took place at a famous meeting held in the maquis in Kabylia, 11 September 2006. It is under the auspices of this veteran of the jihad that the new military strategy AQIM was developed to mark the break with the era and the coming of GSPC group on the jihadist world scene. (...)

Thus, when it stood before the representatives of Katibat Sahelian Taoudeni at the conclave, they feel both honored by his presence and curious about what new military strategy he would develop in their area. Apparently, the appointment of an emir unique for the Sahel was to arbitrate conflicts between growing Moulathamin Katibat Al, the oldest Islamist group in the Algerian Sahel implanted since 1992, led by Mokhtar Ben Mokhtar, aka Emir Belaoui and Katibat Tareq Ibn Ziyad, founded in 2003 by Abderazzak El Para and directed since his arrest by the "Emir of small desert" Hamadou Abid alias Abdelhamid Abou Zeid. However, the choice of a prominent part as Djouadi, from the first circle command of AQIM, foreshadowed a more radical change. For Droukdel, the main objective being to "politicize" the activities of Katibat Sahelian too long treated as banditry. Organizationally, Yahia Djouadi the Sahel divides into two areas of activity: in the West, the territory traditionally controlled by Ben Mokhtar, who is from south-western Algeria, northern Mali and Mauritania in the east , zones of influence stretching from Abu Zeid massive Algerian-Malian Timetrine bordering Chad, through the strategic region of northern Niger, where many Western and Asian companies are present, particularly in the area mining. In this new configuration, Ben Mokhtar Guard HQ Katibat its long-established in Kidal, the heart of the country Tuareg in northern Mali. Abu Zeid establishes his command in the former stronghold of El Para Timetrine. As for Djouadi, it is surrounded by a shura of 140 jihadists, it installs on the ruins of the ancient galleys Taoudeni, who becomes the central command of the new emirate Sahel."

So let's see:
In the west MBM - Katibat Al Moulathamin 1992 - hq Tigarghar - east Mauri, north Mali
In the east Abu Zeid - Katibat Tareq Ibn Ziyad, 2003 - hq Timethrine - east Mali, Niger, Chad
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  #240  
Old 16 Jun 2011
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Ennahar Online - Niger: Army tracks down elements of AQIM after the clashes on Sunday
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