"Analysts feared that the violence (…) would contribute to the chaos in the territory and provide an opening for Al Qaeda to establish a greater foothold in the region," the paper said.
It added that the arrests of a terror cell suspected of having Qaeda leadership appeared to confirm some of those fears.
"This is potentially a significant episode because it is indicative of a qualitative shift in terms of Al Qaeda itself and the counterterrorism measures in the region," it quoted Mohammad-Mahmoud Mohamedou, the former foreign minister of Mauritania and an expert on Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb as saying.
Mohammad-Mahmoud Mohamedou added that “there has been a show of strength by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb over the last six months” as the group kidnapped, in Niger, seven foreigners, including five French citizens, whose fate remains unclear.
News and events concerning Western Sahara/Corcas