French, Mauritanian Troops Launch Attack on Sahara Terror Camp

Six Members of AQIM Reportedly Killed, Four Others Escape

French and Mauritanian troops launch a nighttime raid on what is being described as a small terror campsite in the middle of the Sahara Desert, killing at least six suspected members of the al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) group. Four others reportedly escaped the attack.

The attack was meant to rescue a 78-year-old retired French engineer, who they believed was being held hostage at the camp. Officials said they had no word one way or another on the engineer.

The AQIM group has been operating across Northern Africa for years. Neighboring Mali has criicized the lack of coordination in the raid, saying they had to learn about it in the press. Spain, which is said to have lost hostages in the region, also complained that they were not consulted.

The region is question is largely not under any government’s control, and the militants in the region can come and go across the desert borders largely unnoticed. Though the various nations have agreements allowing their troops to pursue the militants across the border, generally speaking this involves consulting with the neighboring nation.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.