U.N. sanctions Mali's Ansar Dine

March 21, 2013 at 9:47 AM

UNITED NATIONS, March 21 (UPI) -- Malian al-Qaida affiliate Ansar Dine is subject to an assets freeze and arms embargo because of terrorist activity, the U.N. Security Council said.

The U.N. Security Council voted to add Ansar Dine to its al-Qaida sanctions list. The Security Council said the group has ties to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Qaida leaders and other regional affiliates.

Ansar Dine was founded in December 2011 by Iyad ag Ghali. The U.S. State Department in February designated ag Ghali as a terrorist leader for working with al-Qaida operatives in Mali.

The militant group, along with members of al-Qaida, is suspected of serious crimes in northern Mali following disputes that resulted in a de facto division of the country.

Mali in January called for military support from former colonial power France to help retake northern territory from militants. International human rights groups and U.N. officials have expressed concern over reprisal attacks as Malian forces press north.

Ansar Dine told al-Arabiya in November it was ready "to take part in the democratic process."

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