Qaeda-linked Belmokhtar group claims allegiance to ‘Islamic State’
NOUAKCHOTT - The Al-Qaeda-linked group of notorious one-eyed Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, according to an audio recording broadcasted by private Mauritanian agency Al-Akhbar.
Belmokhtar, the militant whose attack in January 2013 killed 37 oil contractors, spoke in the recording of his group's support.
Belmokhtar is a leader of extremist movement al- Murabitoun, based in Algeria and affiliated with al-Qaeda.
"The Al-Murabitoun movement pledges its allegiance to the caliph of Muslims Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, thereby banishing divisions and dissent within the nation," said Adnan Abou Walid Sahraoui, a leading member of the group, in the recording.
Al-Akhbar said it had identified the voice in the recording as that of Saharaoui.
It was not possible to obtain immediate confirmation from other sources.
In 2012 Belmokhtar formed his own militia, which joined ranks with al-Qaeda branch Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao) to form al-Murabitoun.
Belmokhtar has also been linked to attacks in Niger that killled at least 25 people, International Business Times reported.