Mauritanian man charged in 3 deadly 2015 terror attacks in Mali

NEW YORK (AP) — A Mauritanian national suspected of planning and coordinating three deadly attacks in 2015 against Westerners in Mali was arraigned in federal court in New York on Saturday, a day after being transferred to the United States in Mali .

Fawaz Ould Ahmed Ould Ahemeid faces multiple terrorism charges in a six-count indictment, including for his alleged role in the attacks on a restaurant and two hotels that killed a total of 38 people. Among the victims were five United Nations employees and one American citizen.

“Today we made clear that the United States is steadfast in its commitment to bringing to justice those who commit barbaric acts of terrorism targeting innocent victims, including, as in this case, an American aid worker who was killed more than 4,000 miles from his home in Maryland,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.

Ahemeid, 44, also known as “Ibrahim Idress” and “Ibrahim Dix”, appeared in federal court in Brooklyn, where U.S. Magistrate Judge James R. Cho ordered his detention pending trial. Samuel Jacobson, one of Ahemeid’s federal public defenders, said they had no comment at this time.

Ahemeid had previously been sentenced to death in 2020 by a Malian court for his role in the same attacks. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office said the Malian government had agreed to hand him over to U.S. authorities.

Alex Thurston, assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati, said “the responsibility of the organizers of terrorist attacks is significant”. He noted that “the case is unlikely to have much impact in Mali, however, where most jihadist violence occurs away from the capital,” referring to more recent attacks in the West African country. the West.

Ahemeid is charged with the murder of Anita Ashok Datarthe American citizen who was among the 20 victims of a Attack of November 20, 2015 on the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, the capital of Mali. Datar, a 41-year-old public health expert from Takoma Park, Maryland, was a guest at the hotel and worked for an international development firm helping the US Agency for International Development.

Ahemeid also faces charges of unlawful use of firearms and explosives and of supporting terrorist groups al-Mourabitoun and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a group he allegedly joined in or around 2007.

Charges also relate to March 7, 2015 attack at the restaurant La Terrasse in Bamako, Mali, where a masked gunman sprayed bullets at a restaurant popular with foreigners, killing five people, including French and Belgian nationals. Documents filed by prosecutors accuse Ahemeid of personally carrying out the attack, armed with two assault rifles, a pistol and grenades. The al-Mourabitoun group publicly claimed responsibility for the attack that day.

The third attack took place on August 7, 2015 in Byblos Hotel in Sévaré, Mali, where 13 people, including the five UN staff, were killed after a man armed with an assault rifle and wearing a suicide vest opened fire. Al-Mourabitoun also claimed responsibility for this attack.

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