Islamic militants in northern Mali have executed an Algerian diplomat, one of seven diplomats abducted from the Algerian consulate in April.
The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) issued a statement saying Taher Touati, the Algerian vice-consul, was executed at dawn on Sunday.
Aljazeera reported MUJAO had demanded the release of Islamic fighters imprisoned in Algeria and $15 million, in return for the release of the hostages, a demand rejected by the Algerian government. The statement said:
"The Algerian government must take complete responsibility for the consequences of its stubbornness and the misguided and irresponsible decisions of its president and its generals."
AFP reported the diplomats were abducted on April 5 in the northern Mali town of Gao. Kidnappers hoisted the black Salafist flag over the Algerian consulate, but at the time the identity of the Islamic group was unknown.
One week ago MUJAO released a video of Taher Touati pleading for his life. Touati said “I’m calling on the Algerian people to stand by my side in this hardship to release me.”
MUJAO is a splinter group of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). According to ICSR the group split from AQIM to focus on bringing jihad to West Africa as opposed to the Sahara region AQIM primarily operates in. Alongside Ansar Dine, the Islamic group now controlling northern Mali, MUJAO is intent on enforcing Sharia law on the local populace.
North Africa United reported that citizens of Gao recently intervened to prevent MUJAO from amputating the hand of a man they accused of stealing. On Sunday the group took control of the town of Douentza.