Mauritania extradites Malian nationals detained for trafficking

20:40, September 28, 2010      

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Up to 22 Malian nationals detained for seven months in Mauritania on charges of drug and arms trafficking were extradited to Bamako on Monday afternoon, judicial sources told Xinhua.

They were arrested in February by the Mauritanian army during the "Lemzarrab" operation in the north of Mali. At the time of their arrest, they were carrying huge quantities of drugs and weapons.

The 22 Malians were, among others, charged with collaborating with the North African wing of Al Qaeda (AQIM).

According to the Mauritanian security services, the arrest of these men helped to establish the collusion between terrorists and drug traffickers.

This extradition of Malian nationals following a request from Bamako is an indication that the diplomatic spat between the two neighboring countries had ended.

The two countries had a quarrel over a decision by Bamako to release five AQIM fighters in February, including a Mauritanian national being sought by his country's justice system.

Nouakchott termed this as an "unfriendly" act and later recalled its ambassador to Bamako. The Mauritanian ambassador returned to the Malian capital about a week ago after months of absence and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz recently took part in the 50th anniversary of independence.

Source: Xinhua


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