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Free lance?: Mokhtar Belmokthar takes distance from AQIM.

African Security News.- Former Al Qaeda commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar. Photo Credit Image Sahara Media.

African Security News.- Former Al Qaeda commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar. Photo Credit Image Sahara Media.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s split from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) raises questions about the overall strength of the parent organisation, analysts say.

In late August, al-Qaeda splinter group Katibat El Moulethemoune (“Brigade of the Veiled Ones”) led by Belmokhtar (real name Khaled Abou El Abass) joined forces with the Movement for Tawhid and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) to create the “Mourabitounes”.

To local experts, the move looks like the only option left for jihadists ostracised by al-Qaeda’s Maghreb leadership. The former AQIM commander had already been cut off by the organisation.READ ARTICLE HERE