RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Moroccan security forces dismantled a cell recruiting young men to fight with al-Qaida-linked groups in northern Mali, the Interior Ministry said Saturday.
The statement said that a group operating across the country were inculcating young men with "al-Qaida" ideology and then smuggling them across the closed border with Algeria from where they headed to Mali for military training.
The men would then join either al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb or its offshoot, The Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, which have taken control over much of northern Mali.
Northern Mali fell to Islamist extremists in April, after coup leaders toppled the government in Bamako, Mali's capital. France has been pushing for a military intervention by Mali's army, bolstered by other African troops, to drive the Islamists from power.
Both al-Qaida-linked groups are reported to consist largely of foreign fighters from North Africa and elsewhere across the Islamic world and have kidnapped and ransomed dozens of Westerners.