Jihadist groups unite, threaten France over Mali offensive
Two African-based jihadist groups say they have joined forces to take revenge on France for its military offensive in Mali. Mokhtar Belmokhtar's Al-Mulathameen Brigade announced on Thursday that it had merged with the Mali's Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao).
The Mauritania-based Al-Mulathameen Brigade, founded by the former commander of
Al-Qaeda in the Isamic Maghreb (Aqim) said in a statement published by Mauritanian news agency ANI that its merger with Mujao aims to unite Muslims across the region.
Both groups were among the armed Islamist militias that occupied northern Mali last year and were driven out of most of the area by a French-base offensive.
In a statement, they said the jihadist movement in the region was now "stronger than ever" and threatened France and its allies with reprisals for the military operation.