A ruthless Al Qaeda leader was finally behind bars Thursday for his lethal role in two 2016 West African terrorist attacks where 49 people were killed — including an American missionary who left behind a wife and four kids.
A Brooklyn federal criminal complaint charged Mimi Ould Baba, 32, a citizen of Mali, with the murder of U.S. citizen Michael Riddering during a Jan. 15, 2016, terrorist assault in Burkina Faso. The suicide mission, involving three attackers armed with assault rifles and hand grenades, killed 30 people inside a cafe and hotel.
Riddering, 45, was inside the Cafe Cappuccino to meet with a group of potential volunteers for the orphanage and women’s crisis center that he and his wife operated. The couple’s four children included two adopted in Burkina Faso since they arrived in the African nation back in 2011.
“This case is another reminder that when terrorists kill an American, even half a world away, the FBI special agents and New York City detectives of the Joint Terrorism Task Force will work as long as it takes and go as far as it takes to bring justice,” said NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.
Baba will also face charges in Mali for a second terror attack on March 13, 2016, where three similarly armed terrorists killed 19 people at a beach resort in Cote D’Ivoire. He will face prosecution in Mali, although U.S. law enforcement intend to work with local African authorities going forward in his case.
A tape released by the terrorists claiming responsibility for the Burkina Faso attack was titled “A Message Signed with Blood and Body Parts.” Authorities alleged that Baba helped recruit and arm the terrorists in both attacks.
The accused terrorist could possibly face U.S. federal charges down the road, although there is no extradition treaty between Mali and the United States. Baba was working with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQUI), the organization that claimed responsibility for both terror attacks.
“There’s nothing we could ever do to take away the pain felt by the families of those Baba killed during his 2016 terrorist attack in Burkina Faso,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney of the New York office. “But four years later, we take comfort in the fact that he will be held accountable for his egregious crime.”
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