Below are five graphs showing basic information about the twenty-one Mauritanian members of AQIM known to have been killed in action; the information is pulled from the forums. One of the men traveled to Iraq before dying in a skirmish in Tunisia; others became political and religiously conscious while studying in Tunisia or Jordan. More information (i.e., charts/spreadsheets and graphs) will be added to this post over the next week. In the meantime, the graphs below should provide food for thought. UPDATED
First is concerned with KIAs (“killed in action”) over time:
2008 and 2010 lead the way with 7 and 8 deaths each; 2009 saw only 3 Mauritanian members died and 2005-2007 each had one. From 2005 to the present there have been 21 Mauritanian members of AQIM killed in skirmishes, accidents and suicide attacks.
Next is a chart showing the “cause of death” referring to the method or circumstances of the members’ deaths. Suicide bombings are listed as “suicide attacks,” all instances where a member was killed in a fight by the “enemy” (government forces, militia, police, etc.) are classified as “skirmishes” and all other modes of death are classified as “other” (these include car accidents while in custody and stepping on land-mines outside of “combat”). Skirmishes claim by far the largest share (15 of 21 or 71.42%) followed by suicide attacks (4 of 21 or 19.04%) and then all others (2 of 21 or 5.52%). The graph below shows how this is distributed between countries in the Maghreb and Sahel.Here “NIG” refers to Niger; “MAUR” refers to Mauritania; “ALG” refers to Algeria; “TUNIS” refers to Tunisia; and “MALI” refers to Mali.
Below is another graph showing the Mauritanian AQIM members’ places of death; this does not refer exclusively to kills by governments but includes all AQIM member deaths among the 21 Mauritanians.
Mauritania and Algeria are most common places of death, each with 7 (each with 33% and 66.6% together). Mali comes in second with 4 (19.04%). Mauritania has suffered half of the suicide bombings perpetrated by Mauritanian AQIM members, which seems to make sense. All of the suicide bombings took place during or after 2008 (in fact only in 2008 and 2010).
The next graph deals with provinces of origin in Mauritania. Some of the men’s background is not totally clear; three of them are classified as having “unknown” origins of yet (this can be adjusted with more research). The remote origins of the men from Nouadhibou and Nouakchott can likely also be found out eventually. More of the men came from Trarza than from any other province by far (8 0f 21 or 38.09%); the next most common was Brakna (3 of 21 or 14.28%) followed by Adrar (2 of 21 or 9.5%). Four of the Trarza men were mentioned in an earlier post and the province is a popular scene for many Salafists and hardcore religious types who have made fast inroads into the mahadhras (religious schools) and are mostly peaceable but some have made associations with AQIM.
Additional charts will look at what information is available about the men’s education, foreign travel, tribal origins and so on.
UPDATE I: Here is the list (spreadsheet) from which the data in the above graphs is taken. “U” means “unknown/unclear”; an updated sheet with tribal and age information (hopefully more) is forthcoming.