Did the French army try to use French journalist Olivier Dubois in 2021 to locate a jihadist leader, before he was kidnapped? In any case, this is what a survey carried out by several French media and published on Tuesday confirms.
The French force Barkhane was informed of the French journalist’s plan to meet a jihadist leader affiliated with Al-Qaeda in northern Mali, via a fixer serving as an indicator for the armies. The military considered using this appointment to locate this emir before giving up because of the risks involved, according to Le Monde, which conducted the investigation with Liberation, RFI and TV5Monde.
Released last March, Olivier Dubois was kidnapped on April 8, 2021 in Gao, in northern Mali, by GSIM, the main jihadist alliance in the Sahel linked to Al-Qaeda. He collaborated in particular with the daily newspaper Release and the magazine Point and lived in Mali since 2015.
A diligent internal investigation
According to the French media having had access to French and Malian legal documents relating to the case, Barkhane’s soldiers would have given up the operation in extremis, but would not have deployed the appropriate means to prevent the kidnapping of ‘Olivier Dubois in Gao, where he was to meet Abdallah Ag Albakaye.
Responsible for investigating this case internally, the General Inspectorate of the Armed Forces (IGA) concluded at the end of 2021 that there had been “no personal fault within the Barkhane force”, but that “the sensitivity of the subject has not been taken into account at a sufficient level to conduct (…) a dissuasive action against the journalist”.
The French Foreign Ministry declined to comment “because of the ongoing judicial investigation”. The staff declined to comment. From diplomatic sources, we recall that a “red letter” – for strongly discouraged – had been sent to Olivier Dubois the day before his kidnapping to dissuade him from making this trip.
The newspaper Release had for his part refused the interview project of Olivier Dubois because of the risks involved.
Source: Le Progrès : info et actu nationale et régionale – Rhône, Loire, Ain, Haute-Loire et Jura | Le Progrès by www.leprogres.fr.
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