Chad: March 22, 2004

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Senior military officers from Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Senegal and Tunisia are meeting in Germany with American military officials. The discussions are about how to deal with terrorism and Islamic radical groups in west and northern Africa. Mali and Mauritania have received help in training their troops for counter-terrorist operations. The US has had its Special Forces troops visit most of the other nations to compare notes with local police and military officials on anti-terrorism matters. Algerian based terrorist organizations have been driven from their south Algeria bases into the border area with Mali, and then across Mali into Niger and Chad. Apparently the rebels were tracked along the way by American reconnaissance aircraft and satellites, and locations provided to local police and army units.  

The Algerian Islamic radicals received millions of dollars in ransom from Germany for the release of German, and other European, tourists last year. The money is  being spent to buy weapons and equipment, and recruit young men to their Islamic radical cause. The recruiting is going throughout the largely Moslem Sahel (the belt of semi-arid land just south of the Sahara desert.) Offering young Moslem guys from the African outback guns, gadgets, a chance to travel and go kill strangers while on a Mission From God, is a pretty attractive recruiting pitch. It sure beats herding goats or subsistence farming.

 

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