Bamako, Mali, 23 Jumadil Akhir 1434/3 May 2013 (MINA) – The wife and children of a French Islamist arrested in northern Mali have been evacuated to Paris, Malian airport and security sources told AFP on Thursday (2/5).

     Gilles Le Guen (58), who goes by the name Abdel Jelil, was arrested by French forces near Timbuktu overnight Sunday (28/4) and is being questioned in Mali’s northeastern city of Gao.

      “Shortly after the arrest of Gilles Le Guen, who was with his family, his wife and five children — two girls and three boys — were evacuated to Paris,” the security source said.

      Le Guen’s wife, who is from the Maghreb region of northwest Africa, and the children boarded a plane to Paris from the Malian capital Bamako “in recent days”, the source at the city’s airport said.

      “The trip was given the green light by French consular authorities,” she told AFP.

      Le Guen is to be transferred to Bamako on Thursday or Friday, the security source said, the Modern Ghana quoted by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

      The Frenchman is believed to have joined the north African militant organisation Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) after moving to Mali with his family following previous stints living in Morocco and Mauritania.

      In October Le Guen appeared in Islamic dress with a gun at his side in a video on a Mauritanian website in which he warned France, the United States and the United Nations against military intervention in Mali to drive Islamists from the country’s vast desert north.

      Le Guen was held prisoner by AQIM for several days in November 2012 and some sources say the group believed he was a spy.

      The French-led war on Mali, which Paris launched on January 11, has caused a serious humanitarian crisis in the northern areas of the country and has displaced thousands of people, who now live in deplorable conditions.

      Amnesty International said on February 1 that serious human rights breaches -including the killing of children- were being conducted in Mali.

      Some political analysts believe Mali’s abundant natural resources, including gold and uranium reserves, could be one of the reasons behind the French war against the African country.(T/P09/E1).

Miraj News Agency (MINA).

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