Incident Summary:

09/15/2008: On Monday, twelve Mauritanian soldiers were abducted after their patrol was attacked by al Qaeda's Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) gunmen in Zouerate, Tiris Zemmour province, Mauritania. Their mutilated bodies were later found with their heads decapitated on 09/20/2008 on Saturday in Tourine. The North African wing of al Qaeda's Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the incident.




Sub-Saharan Africa

region/u.s. state:

Tiris Zemmour


Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Type of Attack (more) Hostage Taking (Kidnapping)
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Military
Name of Entity Mauritanian Military
Specific Description Mauritanian Military soldiers
Nationality of Target Mauritania
Additional Information
Hostages Yes
Number of Hostages 12
US Hostages 0
Outcome Hostage(s) killed (not during rescue attempt)
Ransom No
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Melee Knife or Other Sharp Object
Weapon Details
An unknown sharp weapon was used in the melee attack.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) No
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) Yes
Alternate Designation (more) Insurgency/Guerilla Action
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Unknown)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 12 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 12
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
"Reuters, "Mauritania Says 12 Held by al Qaeda Were Decapitated," Reuters, September 20, 2008."
"Qatar News Agency, "Mauritanian Soldiers Abducted, Killed by Al Qaeda Network," Lexis Nexis, Qatar News Agency, September 21, 2008."
"International Herald Tribune, " Lexis Nexis, International Herald Tribune, September 22, 2008."