Court sentences Malian jihadist leader, Kéita, others to death

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The Bamako Court of Assizes on Friday sentenced Malian jihadist leader, Souleymane Keita and two other men to death for terrorism.

The court charged Keita, the head of an al-Qaeda offshoot named Khaled Ibn al-Walid, for attacks carried out in Mali’s south, near the border with the Ivory Coast.

A judicial source told journalists on Sunday that a dozen men were also sentenced to death in absentia.

They were accused of preaching jihad in southern Mali and on the border between Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso.

During the trial, Keita, who is the leader of the Katiba of Ansar Dine du Sud, acknowledged the facts and expressed no regret for his actions.

He said: “I do not regret anything because our fight is against the secularism of the Malian state. If I have the possibility, I will start again.

“I am not a terrorist; I am leading the jihad at the border between Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire, in the name of Ansar Dine.

Concerning his links with his accomplices, Souleymane said he had approached them to mount “large-scale operations.”

The two accomplices – Boubacar Sawadogo, 51, and Moussa Maïga, 33, belong to the branch of Ansar Dine in Burkina Faso, their country of origin.

Keita, in his 60s, was accused of having, since 2012, fought in Konna, in the region of Mopti, in central Mali.

He attacked and ransacked the military camp of Misséni and the town of Fakola, in the region of Sikasso, Southern Mali.

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