BAMAKO — Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is building a new base in Mali near the Mauritanian border, with a view to attacking that country, security sources said Thursday.
"We have learned that vehicles are transporting AQIM fighters into the Wagadou forest, in a zone situated in the east in the Malian district of Nara, not far from the Mauritanian border. It is a new base they are installing," one of the security sources told AFP.
"We're increasing our vigilance, because it is most probably an attack against Mauritania that is being prepared from this new base of the armed Islamists," the source added.
According to an independent source, "there is plenty of room" in the forest and members of the armed extremist group "can move about easily. But today, we haven't seen any Malian or Mauritanian troop positions in the area, prepared to tackle the armed Islamists."
In July 2010, the Mauritanian army launched several operations inside Malian territory where troops successfully hunted AQIM fighters who had several bases there, from which they operated in several countries of northwest Africa.
Mauritania, which is one of the most active countries in the regional combat against the Saharan branch of Al-Qaeda, has paid a high price for it, with several attacks on its territory in recent years, as well as kidnappings of Westerners.
Last week, in a message posted up on walls in the Malian town of Timbuktu, AQIM said that it had killed two Mauritanian nationals who had infiltrated its ranks and were accused of working for the government of Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.
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