A secret document revealing how al-Qaeda in north Africa planned to seize „command“ of the jihadist struggle in the Sahara has been found by The Daily Telegraph in Timbuktu. Telegraph Chief Foreign Correspondent David Blair reports.
Al-Qaeda leaders might live as outlaws in the depths of the Sahara, but they remain sticklers for bureaucratic protocol. When the „prince“ gathers his Council, a detailed note is taken and the meeting carefully numbered.
We know this because the record of the 33rd meeting of the leadership of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) was found by the Daily Telegraph in Timbuktu. It shows that the group took a decision with profound consequences.
At that moment, 18 March 2012, guerrillas from the Tuareg minority and Ansar al-Dine, a jihadist group, were on the verge of capturing northern Mali. They had just taken a string of Saharan towns near the border with Algeria.
The document shows that Abu Musab Abdul Wadoud, the „prince“ of AQIM, chaired a gathering of senior commanders with the apparent aim of ensuring that his movement would gain most from the seizure of this territory.