A Malian security source has disclosed that the leading member of insurgent group Ansar Dine who was arrested in central Mali on Tuesday has been transferred to the capital, Bamako.
Mahmoud Barry, alias Abu Yehiya, leader of Ansar Dine Macina, a combat unit of the militant group, has been arraigned before a judicial police on Wednesday, barely 24 hours after his arrest.
Abu Yehiya was arrested following an operation by special forces of the State Security in an area that Ansar Dine operates specifically between Nampala Dogofri localities and the central Segou region, AFP reports.
‘‘He arrived under escort since yesterday (Tuesday) evening to Bamako,” an intelligence officer confirmed on Wednesday.
A photograph released by state security officials showed light skinned Mahmoud Barry dressed in a white tunic with round neck and black stripes and wearing sandals. He has a thin mustache, beard and short hair.
He is believed to be a key member of Ansar Dine’s attack planning and has participated in several onslaughts on members of Malian forces and peacekeepers in the west African country.
Barry is suspected of being one of the brains behind the recent attack against the Malian army in Nampala. The July 19 attack resulted in the death of 17 soldiers, according to a report from the government.
The attack was however claimed by two armed groups, armed Fulani movement and the Ansar Dine. The latter group are linked to Al Qaeda who controlled northern Mali between March-April 2012 to January 2013.
The insurgents were dispersed and largely driven out of their strongholds by international military intervention launched in January 2013 and is ongoing. But whole areas still remain beyond the control of Malian and foreign forces.