MALI – A Malian jihadist leader, Souleymane Keita has been sentenced to death for terrorism.
Bamako Court of Assizes gave the judgement against Keita, head of Katiba of Ansar dine du Sud, and two men.
Boubacar Sawadogo, 51, and Moussa Maïga, 33, are Ansar Dine top members in their home country, Burkina Faso.
PANA reports that more than ten others were handed the same punishment in absentia.
All were accused of preaching jihad in southern Mali and on the border between Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso.
Keita expressed no regret for his actions, insisting that their fight was against Mali’s secularism.
“If I have the possibility, I will start again. I am not a terrorist; I am leading the jihad at the border between Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire, in the name of Ansar Dine,” he said.
Ansar Dine aka Ansar al-Din seeks to impose strict Sharia law across Mali.
It was founded by Iyad Ag Ghaly, who is suspected of have ties to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).