Mali security authorities have announced the arrest of the suspect thought to have masterminded the series of attacks on hotels in Mali last year, including
- The Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako (below) in November 2015 which killed 20 people,
- La Terrasse Bar (below) in the Hippodrome area of the capital, popular with expatriates, in March 2015 which killed 5 people,
- The Byblos Hotel (below), 600kms northeast of Bamako, in the central town of Sevare, in August 2015, killing 13 people including 5 UN workers,
- And the Azalai Hotel Nord-Sud in Bamako, in March 2016, where the EU training mission (EUTM) has its HQ (no casualties) and which is in the same neighbourhood (ACI-2000) as the US Embassy
Fawaz Ould Ahmeida, a Mauritanian citizen, arrived back in Bamako around 16 April and was allegedly planning further attacks against Western targets in Bamako for this weekend (23-24 April). Ahmeida is reportedly a member of a Mali jihadist group (al-Mourabitoun) which is aligned with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Islamist terror groups continue to plan further attacks against expatriate staff and local workers with the intention of creating fear and uncertainty in the sub-Sahara and Sahel regions, in an effort to deter foreign investment while creating the sense that these countries are becoming ungovernable.
Such events serve to reinforce the need for continuing caution by expatriates when deploying to and departing from the region, and continuing alertness at project sites, with up-to-date contingency and evacuation planning in place.