Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/15/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Letter was found on the floor of former rebel headquarters in Timbuktu.

The Associated Press has found a secret letter from Al Qaeda's commander-in-chief in Africa to Islamic fighters in Mali. The letter details the group's long-term strategy for carving out an Islamic state in northern Africa, as well as pointing out mistakes and how to improve.

A softer approach is being suggested for Al Qaeda operatives in Mali.

A softer approach is being suggested for Al Qaeda operatives in Mali.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

2/15/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Al Qaeda, Mali, terrorists, letter, strategy, Africa

TIMBUKTU, MALI (Catholic Online) - The secret document was discovered by an AP reporter combing through papers left behind at the groups former headquarters in Timbuktu. The letter is incomplete and part of a larger document, but the nine recovered pages provide a treasure trove of information about the group.

The letter is signed by Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, which is the pen name of Abdelmalek Droukdel, the commander appointed by Osama bin Laden to supervise Al Qaeda operations in Africa.

Perhaps the most shocking admission found in the letter is that the organization needs to compromise on their strict Sharia standards to gain acceptance and victory. 

Droukdel compares the movement to a baby, saying that they must be more gentle with the people they conquer, much like a parent with an infant.

"The current baby is in its first days, crawling on its knees, and has not yet stood on its two legs. If we really want it to stand on its own two feet in this world full of enemies waiting to pounce, we must ease its burden, take it by the hand, help it and support it until its stands," he wrote.

He chided the fighters by adding, "Every mistake in this important stage of the life of the baby will be a heavy burden on his shoulders. The larger the mistake, the heavier the burden on his back, and we could end up suffocating him suddenly and causing his death."

What Droukdel was criticizing was the swift imposition of Sharia law on the populace. Following the Islamic occupation of northern Mali and Timbuktu in particular, stories quickly emerged about stoning and  beatings for those who infracted Sharia rules.

The letter suggests fighters should take a softer approach, at least at first. The letter also indicates that Al Qaeda is willing to accept some temporary setbacks and losses in order to preserve forces for future success.

Perhaps that is the most alarming bit of information extracted from the letter. Al Qaeda clearly plans to fight a very long-term conflict, grounded in ideology. Such conflicts can last for decades, or even generations.

The war on terror and the effort to dismantle Al Qaeda will not be easily won anytime soon. Any commitment to fighting Al Qaeda is likely going to be a lifelong commitment filled with difficult struggles and sacrifice.

Still, the letter also acknowledges that Al Qaeda is vulnerable to organized military intervention. In the face of sophisticated and disciplined military force, the organization is at a distinct disadvantage. However, the fact they recognize this is part of the reason Al Qaeda will be around for a very long time to come.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Africa

Two lions experience life outside a cage for the first time in eight years Watch

Image of


After years performing in a Bulgarian circus, brothers Jora and Black got to experience a real magical moment following a 10,500-mile journey to Africa, where the lions got to experience freedom and their natural habitat for the first time.  LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

'MEGA-TSUNAMI': Controversial theory says boulders were hurled over 600-feet in volcanic activity Watch

Image of Researchers later published evidence suggesting a tsunami had hit Santiago long ago. Geologists then took a closer look at the boulders and other associated geological evidence at high elevations.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Boulders located on the top of Santiago Island has  scientist Ricardo Ramalho, at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, that giant, mega-tsunamis in prehistoric times hurled them 900 feet in the air. The theory is an intriguing one - ... continue reading

'Discovery' of Queen Nefertiti's tomb debated by archaeologists Watch

Image of Queen Nefertiti, whose name means,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The theory offered by British archaeologist Nicolas Reeves that Queen Nefertiti's final resting place is hidden away in a chamber inside King Tut's tomb excited archaeologists worldwide last year. However, the theory is based on pure speculation. Experts point out ... continue reading

Sudanese rape camp survivors reveal the horrific reality many women face full of brutal rape and abuse (WARNING: Graphic Content) Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Thousands of Sudanese women and girls as young as 12-years-old have been abducted and repeatedly raped by several men, sometimes all at once. The women are usually held captive indefinitely in secret rape camps maintained by government soldiers or abused until they are ... continue reading

Congo's Catholic bishops criticize West over failure to stop abuse of Africa's natural resources Watch

Image of Resources are being illegally extracted from the country's Virunga and Salonga national parks, as well as from animal reserves and other areas

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Catholic Bishops of Africa's Congo has spoken out against the relentless exploitation of that nation's material wealth. The bishops are highly critical of Western governments who have failed to act, and are urging church groups to follow the Pope's call to ... continue reading

British archaeologist to begin search for Queen Nefertiti's tomb Watch

Image of Ruling across Egypt at her husband's side, Queen Nefertiti has long captured the popular imagination. Her final resting place has remained a mystery of the ages.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Much mystery and speculation remains on the final resting place of Queen Nefertiti, "the beautiful one." British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves has now received permission from Egyptian authorities to search Tutankhamen's tomb for the final resting place of ... continue reading

Population boom in Africa fraught with peril - and new hope, BBC says Watch

Image of Improvements in medical technology has helped many people in developing nations to live longer -- adding to population growth.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is an improved rate of survival in Africa with the introduction advanced medical technologies. Because of this, the population along with the continent is sure to grow. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, or BBC, Africa's population will ... continue reading

All hail homo naledi - the new species of humanity discovered in South Africa Watch

Image of A new species of early human being has been confirmed with the discovery of fossilized remains in South Africa.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new species of early human being has been confirmed with the discovery of fossilized remains in South Africa. Discovered inside a cave, the Homo naledi has been assigned to the genus Homo to which modern man belongs. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading

Discovery of 2.8 million-year-old fossils reveals 'Homo naledi' Watch

Image of A reconstruction of what scientists believe Homo naledi looked like (National Geographic Society).

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologists have discovered 1,500 fossils dated 2.8 million-years-old in a subterranean chamber just outside Johannesburg South Africa in an area called the "Cradle of Humankind." LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (Catholic Online) - The fossils were originally discovered in ... continue reading

South Sudan President reluctantly signs a peace treaty with rebels Watch

Image of

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

South Sudan President Salva Kiir reluctantly signs a peace deal with rebels. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Despite serious doubts, South Sudan President Kiir signed a peace treaty between the army and rebels led by Riek Machar.Mechar previously signed the treaty ... continue reading

All Africa News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jonah 3:1-10
1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to Jonah a second ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 130:1-2, 3-4, 7-8
1 [Song of Ascents] From the depths I call to you, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:38-42
38 In the course of their journey he came to a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 6th, 2015 Image

St. Bruno
October 6: Bruno was born in Cologne of the prominent Hartenfaust family. ... Read More