Terrorism Profiles

Al-Muwaqi’un Bil Dima

By November 12, 2015 No Comments

Alternative Names:

Al Mouaquioune bi addimaa, Katibat al-Muqaoon bil-Dumaa, al-Muwaqun Bi-Dima, Al-Muawaqqi’un bi ‘l-Dima al-Mouwakoune bi-Dimaa, al-Mua’qi’oon Biddam, Those Who Sign With Blood, El Mouwakaoune Bidame , Those Who Have Signed Through Blood, the Signatories for Blood, the Signatories in Blood and Those Who Sign in Blood.

Location:

Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, Niger.

Leadership:

Lead by Mokhtar Belmokhatr.

Membership:

Focused on radicalized members in North and West Africa.

Funding Sources:

Relatively similar to those of Al Qaida and Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

Origins:

Al-Muwaqi’un Bil Dima was a relatively new organization created in 2013 after the leader, Mokhtar Belmokhtar split from Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. Belmokhatr has been gathering supporters for the organization in North and West Africa for almost two decades.

In 2013, Belmokhtar announced the creation of a subsection composed of the best fighters from Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, “Those Who Sign in Blood.” This group was responsible for the four day siege of the Tigatourine gas facility. The result of the siege as approximately 800 hostages held hostage, with 48 being executed.  

In August 2013 the two groups, Al-Muwaqi’un Bil Dima and Le Movement pour l’Unification et le Jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest (MUJAO) announced their merger under the new name “Al-Murabitoun”. The United States State Department has designated Al-Murabitoun the “greatest near-term threat to U.S and Western interests in the Sahel.”

Ideological Roots:

Broadly, Al-Muwaqi’un Bil Dima fights against Western intervention. For example, in December 2012, Belmokhatr issued a public statement calling on jihadist to travel to Mali to fight against Western nations. In addition, Belmokhatr threatened to take the fight to the West, vowing that Western nations’ interests would be threatened with their own borders. Al-Muwaqi’un Bil Dima also supports Al Qaida’s violent ideology and Mokhtar Belmokhtar is a well-known Al Qaida associate.

Belmokhtar himself has distinct ideological roots, in 1989, as a teenager Belmokhtar  fought with the mujahideen and trained with Al Qaida. In the mid 1980’s he returned to Algeria and joined the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), whose mission was to overthrow the Algerian Government and establish an Islamic State. By the end of the decade he had seized control over lucrative smuggling routes and earned millions of dollars by trafficking cigarettes. In 1998, Belmokhatr helped the Salafist Group for Preaching and Comabt (GSPC) splinter group. GSPC evolved into Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in 2007.

Objectives:

Al-Muwaqi’un Bil Dima aims to deter Western and African military intervention in Northern Mali and to impose Sharia law in North Africa.

Tactics:

Tactics include car bombings, suicide attacks, and the capturing and killing of hostages. Interestingly, Belmokhtar has lucrative cigarette smuggling routes which provided a significant boost to funding for the organization. 

 Updated November 12, 2015