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Message Subject Watch as it Develops - The Staged War Against Islamists in Northern Mali
Poster Handle Anonymous Coward
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Why Locals Don't Like the Islamists - The Banned Cigarettes while they Snorted Cocaine...

The townspeople’s response will pose a serious problem for the rebels if it’s replicated elsewhere. Fighting an insurgency against a more powerful force is hard, but it’s even harder without local complicity.

Part of the town’s disgust stemmed from the intruders’ behavior, and one trait in particular: Many of the outsiders, some of whom belonged to the regional al Qaida group and quickly banned cigarettes in the town, apparently were druggies.

Doumbia and one other Diabaly resident reported watching the rebels regularly taking cocaine. A third resident reported seeing emptied, white-coated bags lying around and said everyone knew what was inside them.

"We saw them sniffing it, smoking it. Some were injecting it," Doumbia said.

A bag of white powder was flung outside the gate of a friend’s house after one bombing raid, the contents equal to half a kilogram of sugar. Doumbia sent a child to fetch it and confirm its contents, he said, but it was already gone.

Experts say the Sahara desert in West Africa, with its loose borders and weak governments, is rapidly becoming one of the prime cocaine-trafficking routes in the world. Its lucrative windfall is thought to help finance the Islamist rebels, and a legion of fighters dependent on the drug might make finally squelching the insurgency even more difficult.

[link to m.mcclatchydc.com]
 
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