Suspected French tourist killers extradited to Mauritania

14th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

Two suspects and three alleged accomplices arrested in Guinea-Bissau for the December murders of four French tourists were extradited to Mauritania

   BISSAU, January 12, 2008 - Two suspects and three alleged accomplices
arrested in Guinea-Bissau for the December murders of four French tourists
were extradited Saturday to Mauritania, police and airport sources said.
   "The two suspects, accompanied by nine Mauritanian officers, left on an
airplane at 6.45pm (1845 GMT)," a Bissau airport spokesman told AFP on
condition of anonymity.
   "Three Mauritanian accomplices have also been extradited on the same
airplane," he added.
   "We have extradited them. It was just a question of respecting procedure
and getting the paperwork signed," said police chief Lucinda Barboza Ahukarie.
   "Guinea-Bissau will pay dearly for having mistreated God's fighters," one
of the murder suspects, Sidi Ould Sidna, told journalists just before boarding
the military flight.
   Investigators said the two men confessed to having fired on the French
adventure tourists, and expressed "no remorse" at having killed "infidels and
American allies."
   The five Mauritanians will be met in Nouakchott by local security forces,
with a special police commission set up to probe Al-Qaeda links as the murder
investigation kicks in, a Mauritanian security official said.
   The two suspected killers will go immediately before a judge and behind
bars, according to police.
   Both murder suspects had previously been arrested in connection with the
extremist Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which in January
2007 affiliated itself with Al-Qaeda.
   Ould Sidna, born in 1987 in Nouakchott, was acquitted in July 2007 of
charges relating to the recruitment of young Mauritanians to fight in
Al-Qaeda's name in Somalia, police said.
   Ould Sidi Chabarnou, born in 1981 also in Nouakchott, has been arrested
several times without ever standing trial.
   A third suspected killer is still on the loose.
   The three alleged accomplices, meanwhile, were arrested on Friday evening
in Bissau as they "filmed French (security) officers," deputy director of
Guinea-Bissau police, Edmundo Mendes, told AFP.
   Police in several west African countries had launched manhunts for three
men believed to have carried out the December 24 attack in Mauritania's
southern Aleg region, in which four French travellers were shot dead and a
fifth wounded.
   "These arrests are the result of a vast operation led by teams from our
overseas security force," said a French security official.
   For several years now, French intelligence agents in the region have sent
regular bulletins to Paris on the former GSPC's activities.
   The Al-Qaeda-linked group is said to count some 500 armed men, 400 of whom
are active in Algeria with another 100 located in the Saharan desert zone
between Mauritania, Mali and Niger.
   The roadside killing and an attack on a military base in north Mauritania
two days later, which left three soldiers dead, led to the cancellation of the
Dakar 2008 motor rally across the Sahara.
   The Al-Qaeda-affiliated group claimed responsibility for the attacks on
Mauritanian troops.

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