Ahemeid, 44, also known as “Ibrahim Idress” and “Ibrahim Dix”, appeared in federal court in Brooklyn, where U.S. Magistrate Judge James R. Cho ordered his detention pending trial. Samuel Jacobson, one of Ahemeid’s federal public defenders, said they had no comment at this time.
Ahemeid had previously been sentenced to death in 2020 by a Malian court for his role in the same attacks. A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office said the Malian government had agreed to hand him over to U.S. authorities.
Alex Thurston, assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati, said that “the responsibility of the organizers of terrorist attacks is significant”. He noted that “the case is unlikely to have much impact in Mali, however, where most jihadist violence occurs away from the capital”, referring to more recent attacks in the African country. from West.
Ahemeid is accused of the murder of Anita Ashok Datar, the American citizen who was among the 20 victims of an attack on November 20, 2015 against the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, the capital of Mali. Datar, a 41-year-old public health expert from Takoma Park, Maryland, was a guest at the hotel and worked for an international development firm helping the US Agency for International Development.
Ahemeid also faces charges of unlawful use of firearms and explosives and of supporting terrorist groups al-Mourabitoun and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a group he allegedly joined in or around 2007.
The charges also relate to the March 7, 2015 attack on La Terrasse restaurant in Bamako, Mali, where a masked gunman sprayed bullets into a restaurant popular with foreigners, killing five people, including French and Belgian nationals. Documents filed by prosecutors accuse Ahemeid of personally carrying out the attack, armed with two assault rifles, a pistol and grenades. The al-Mourabitoun group publicly claimed responsibility for the attack that day.
The third attack took place on August 7, 2015 at the Byblos Hotel in Sévaré, Mali, where 13 people, including the five UN staff, were killed after a man armed with an assault rifle and wearing a suicide vest opened fire. Al-Mourabitoun also claimed responsibility for this attack.