Paris has confirmed the death of Baye Ag Bakabo, the head of the command who kidnapped our colleagues Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon on November 2, 2013 in Kidal in northern Mali.
The information had been circulating since Wednesday, June 9, but was then not official. Several members of Baye Ag Bakabo’s family had announced his death on social media, but neither Barkhane nor Elysee, who was contacted at the time, had confirmed.
According to our information, Baye Ag Bakabo was killed near the town of Aguelhok where he had been since the beginning of the week. With his katiba, he prepared to attack the military camp of the Malian forces, that was then the order was given by the French to neutralize it.
French special forces involved
It was the special forces, according to our information, who intervened when Bakabo and his men began to prepare for their attacks. The French used drones and sent men to the ground.
Baye Ag Bakabo was the suspected leader of the command that murdered our colleagues. He was the one who drove the beige pick-up truck that was used for the kidnapping. His identity documents were found inside the vehicle.
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For several months he had been at the head of a katiba tasked with eliminating all suspects in order to cooperate with the French Barkhane force. In September last year in the heart of Kidal, his katiba in particular had eliminated an important MNLA’s military leader, Ahabi Ag Ahmayad.
Baye Ag Bakabo showed a little. But we know that he moved between the Kidal region and southern Algeria near Tinzaouten. One of his last reports dates back to October. He was seen during the release of 200 jihadists in exchange for hostage Sophie Pétronin and Soumaïla Cissé.
His capture was of the utmost importance to the families of our comrades. His testimony could have lifted the gray areas that still hang over this case. Of the four members of the command, only one would live now.