France boosted al-Qaeda in Mali by paying £11m in ransoms, says US ambassador


David Blair
telegraph.co.uk
February 8, 2013

Almost a month after France went to war against AQIM in northern Mali, Vicki Huddleston, who served as US ambassador to the country from 2002-05, accused Paris of building up the very threat its soldiers are now fighting against.

That campaign began to resemble a guerrilla war when the first suicide bombing took place on Friday. An attacker blew himself up at a checkpoint manned by Malian soldiers outside the northern city of Gao, which French forces recaptured from AQIM and its allies last month. There were no other casualties.

However, landmines and improvised explosive devices have been laid along the main road to Gao during the last week. An explosion killed four Malian civilians as they were driving to a local market on Wednesday.

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