News

Moktar Belmoktar: 5 Fast Facts You Need To Know

Moktar Belmoktar was a major player in the militant Islamic movement that has helped turn Mali into a hellish battlefield. Now some are saying that he is dead. If true, it would be one more nail in the coffin of the struggling Al-Qaeda mission in Mali. Here are five informative facts to get you up to speed.


1. He was considered to be the leader of Al-Qaeda in Mali.
Belmokhtar
He began training at the age of 19, and steadily rose through the ranks. At the time of his death, he took his orders directly from Ayman al-Zawahiri, who sits at the top of the Al-Qaeda food chain.


2. He formed his own terrorist group called the Masked Brigade.
millitants-in-truck
His own Jihadist group is the one that he was using in Mali, at the direction of Al-Qaeda leaders. They have been very active in the region, often engaging with French forces and others over the last few months.


3. He has reportedly been killed by Chadian forces in Mali.
Chad-soldiers
Chad’s military released a statement saying that they have killed Belmoktar during a raid in the Adrar de Ifhogas mountains. Some people in the town of Kidal, which is being used as a base of operations, dispute the Chadian government’s claim, saying that they believe the Chadian’s are trying to compensate for recent losses in the area. The French government is leading military efforts against terrorists in Mali, and a military spokesman has said that they do not have evidence of Belmoktar’s death.


4. He is responsible for the In Amenas Hostage Crisis.
In-Amenas-Hostage-Crisis
On January 16, 2013, Belmoktar and his group kidnapped over 800 people at the Tigantourine gas facility near In Amenas, Algeria. Algerian special forces managed to free the hostages, but many people were killed in the fighting, including 39 foreign hostages and 29 militants.


5. He was sometimes referred to as Mr. Marlboro.
marlboro_man
Militant groups are well know for funding their operations through illicit means. In Belmoktar’s case, it has often been through cigarette smuggling, a relatively lucrative enterprise in many parts of the world. It is especially prominent in places that do not have solid supply infrastructures, or western business presence.

Win a $500 Amazon shopping spree

Join Heavy's daily email newsletter to enter to win a $500 Black Friday Shopping Spree on Amazon.
Read the sweepstakes rules here.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 860 other followers