The 21st Century Phenomenon


On 06/04/2005 a group of over 100 fighters raided a remote military outpost in Lemgheiti, Mauritania, in the corner of the Mauritanian borders with Algiers and Mali. 15 out the 17 soldiers who manned the outpost were killed in the raid as well as 5 of the raiders. There bodies, which were left behind, helped to identify the group as members of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat – GSPC. The group apparently contained a large number of Mauritanians who were heard speaking Hassaniya, the Mauritanian dialect of Arabic.

The attackers left the place taking with them 6 military vehicles while burning the others.  According to intelligence sources and further investigation the raid was commanded by Mukhtar Bilmukhtar and led by Abdul Rahman al-Nigeri. The attack accomplished little and was even condemned by Mauritania’s Islamist opposition.

With the raid on Lemgheiti, the GSPC demonstrated that they still posed, at mid 2005, a threat to isolated military outposts.

The attack came probably in response to the arrest of a large number of GSPC members in Mauritania in mid 05/2005. Most of the detainees were from Algerian descent and about 20 of them were local Mauritanians. Mauritania also angered the militants since the regime had recognized Israel and had full diplomatic relations with Israel.

Indeed, a communiqué posted on June 5 on the GSPC website claimed the action as “revenge for our brothers who were arrested by the apostate Mauritanian regime over the recent period, and as a support for the oppressed Muslims there”. 


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