Ex-member of AQIM says convinced by Mauritania policy

21:46, November 18, 2010      

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A Mauritanian member of the regional terrorist group says he surrendered to the army because he was convinced by the African country's policy of dialogue.

Ahmed Ould Weiss, an ex-jihadist of Al Qaeda in North Africa (AQIM), on Nov. 5 surrendered to the Mauritanian army. On Wednesday, he said he surrendered because of the decision by the authorities to start dialogue with the Islamists and the promise of the presidential pardon.

"My decision was motivated by the dialogue that was launched in Mauritania which resulted into the release of fellow fighters as well as the speech by the president of the Republic, in which he promised to forgive those Mauritanians who had been forced into these jihadist organizations and later decided to abandon the extremist activities," Weiss told national television.

He added that he surrendered to the authorities because he wanted to abandon the retrogressive activities by AQIM, since they go against Islamic teachings and hostile to the national interests.

Other reasons, he said, include "the improved political climate in the country which respects Islam and Muslims. The new political climate also allows freedom of preaching and spreading of the religion."

Weiss said he had gone to AQIMI hoping that he would participate in a Jihad to "save" his religion. However, he found himself "disappointed" discovering "that the information I had been given before my departure was false. I was surprised that the weapons of this group were used against Islam and Muslims."

"All these reasons encouraged me to take the decision of returning to the country and voluntarily handing myself over to the authorities," he admitted on state television.

Born in 1979, Izid Bih Ould Weiss joined AQIM in 2008 to fight under the Al-Ansar katiba (unit), which was headed by a Malian national, Abdel Karim Targui.

In this unit, he was trained on how to handle explosive weapons as well as on other guerrilla war techniques.

He was released on Nov. 7 after the security services withdrew his arrest warrant.

Source: Xinhua


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