Islamist Fighters Ready for Battle in North Maliwww.thejakartaglobe.com/world/islamist-fighters-ready-for-ba...With his finger on the trigger and a menacing look, a 14-year-old recruit ordered a vehicle to pull over on the road from the Niger border to Gao, the biggest city in northern Mali, now under control of Islamist armed groups....Perhaps the most startling thing about these fighters along this frontier route is that nearly all of them are from sub-Saharan Africa rather than the Maghreb...."Me too, I am surprised," Nigerien Hicham Bilal, who is leading a katiba (combat unit) to Gao, admitted to AFP. "Every day we have new volunteers. They come from Togo, Benin, Niger, Guinea, Senegal, Algeria and elsewhere." Since all of them want to go to war, Bilal said, the fighters are no longer divided into separate Islamist movements. "We are all mujahedeen," he declared....Islam has no borders"I am Khalil, an Egyptian, and I came to help my mujahedeen brothers," said one man in Arabic, speaking through a translator from Sierra Leone. Another volunteer said in English that he is Pakistani. "Islam has no borders," he added....According to one witness, the Algerians are part of the combat unit of powerful AQIM chief Mokhtar Belmokhtar, alias Belaaouar, who controls the Gao region.DB2Sounds more like warfare than a crime spree
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