Conflicts & War

Al Qaeda targets main link between Morocco, Sub-Saharan Africa

By Mohamed Siali and Idrissa Diakité

Rabat/Bamako, Oct 19 (EFE).- Truckers transporting goods from Morocco to sub-Saharan Africa face treacherous routes with Al Qaeda targeting the main highway connecting the north African country with the capital of Mali.

The danger was highlighted when a group of armed men, allegedly members of the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM, affiliated with Al Qaeda), killed a Moroccan truck driver and his companion on September 9.

The attack targeted a convoy of trucks transporting fruit and fish from Morocco to Bamako as it passed through the Didiéni area, some 200 kilometers north of the Malian capital, but the goods were left intact.

Mohamed Oukraim, a Moroccan driver who was injured that day, told Efe he was traveling with one of the people who was killed.

“He died next to me,” he recalled over the phone during his stay at a Bamako hospital where he was recovering from his wounds.

The victim was an imam in his 50s from the southern Moroccan town of Tiznit who rode with him in Mauritania, Oukraim added.

The trucker expected to be back on the road in eight months’ time once he has recovered from surgery on his leg. Some of his colleagues, he added, were suffering from anxiety after the attack.

“When the bullet hit my leg, I got out of the truck. I was in a state of shock, I didn’t understand what was happening. They attacked us from the forest and then came out to examine the damage caused,” the driver added.

According to Oukraim, the attackers withdrew after firing at them, leaving behind the cargo.

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