In the news: the underside of a liberation

After moments of joy and effusion, following the release late last week in Mali of the three Western hostages and opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé, the continent’s press is focusing on the underside of transactions on Monday.

How many jihadists have been freed in exchange for hostages? Impossible to have an exact number. We’re talking about 200 warriors. What is certain is that some of them met last Friday to celebrate their release.

“The elements of GSIM, the support group for Islam and Muslims, wereted no time in letting their joy explode,” says L’Indépendant in Bamako. Several photos posted on social networks actually show them around a hearty meal prior to a collective prayer. (…) Around this party, organized in honor of the released terrorists, we could especially see Taher Abu Saad (blind and one-armed Algerian veteran, explosives expert), Aliou Mahamane Touré (former head of the Islamic Police in MUJAO, in Gao, in 2012 ), Commander-in-Chief of Katiba Macina, Imam Mahamoud Barry and many others. (…) Among these large fish, some have planned and even carried out numerous attacks in Mali and abroad. Everyone was gathered around Iyad Ag Ghali who seems to be the real conductor. According to our sources, L’Indépendant continues, during this ceremony, Iyad Ag Ghali congratulated the kidnappers of the hostages, including Soumaïla Cissé. He also allegedly asked his men to perform this type of action, which results in more than one or more attacks. That is, Bamako estimates daily, the high risk in the coming days of witnessing targeted kidnappings of political and military personalities to lead to this kind of transactions. ”

And then another important clarification from The Independent: “a ransom was paid, the newspaper says, between 15 and 20 million euros.” The independent who does not cite sources and who does not provide other details.

Iyad this hero …

Emphasizes in any case Africa Point, ”The GSIM emir has something to be proud of. Iyad Ag Ghali not only negotiated the release of more than a hundred prisoners, and in addition, millions of euros would have come to rebuild the coffers of his organization. Enough to increase its prestige significantly in jihadist circles and in the regions of the northern part of the country. ‘This release of hostages against dozens of prisoners has given Iyad a major boost in popularity. Poems in his honor are broadcast in audio on Whatsapp. They say he was able to free prisoners and bring innocents back to their families when the armed movements were unable to do so. He is a great and a real leader, ‘says Moussa, a person close to the armed movements in Kidal, who predicts that the money will wash away the city in a few days. “This is always the case after this kind of deal,” he says with a touch of malice. ”

In addition, Le Point Afrique always believes it knows why the release of the hostages took so long between the announcement on Tuesday and their actual arrival in Bamako on Thursday night. “It simply came to our notice then. The Americans, Le Point Afrique specifies, opposed the release of Mimi ould Baba Ould Cheikh, the organizer of the Splendid attacks in Ouagadougou, in which an American lost his life. He was on the list of prisoners to be released. So that was what delayed the release of the hostages. ”

Back to start ?

Final concern in Burkinabé press …

“These terrorists who are in their favorite places, what will we want them to do if they do not resume their jobs!” Breaks out the daily Today and Ouagadougou. The securocrats, who are pushing hard against the dunes, will find themselves tracking down terrorists they had already arrested. Back to the front row … ”says Today. “And all these soldiers must have taken these releases of terrorists as an insult and are right on their teeth!” It is a possibility, it is a choice that Mali assumes, but if we have decided to negotiate, it must be done taking into account the fallout, because the remedy can be more harmful than the disease. And if we have chosen to negotiate with Ag Ghali, Al-Saharaoui and others, we will have to say it, still confirm today and prepare the spirits, because at the same time as we negotiate, if there are kidnappings, attacks and money given to kidnappers … it falls from Charybdis to Scylla. ”