Iyad Ag Ghaly never grew out of the adolescent rebellion phase. In the early 1990’s, he was a resistance leader against the government of his native Mali. After the resistance, he continued to build up a following and was appointed as one of Mali’s diplomats to Saudi Arabia. He currently runs Ansar Dine, a terror group that is affiliated with al-Qaeda. Mali’s got a great PR team, lemme tell ya.
In 2012, Ansar Dine captured the city of Timbuktu. Over a radio broadcast, Ag Ghaly told citizens that he and his group were implementing Islamic sharia law upon the city. He said that women must cover themselves, and that thieves would be chopped up and adulterers stoned.
With the city’s limited defensive resources decimated, the Ansar Dine militants began ransacking tombs and non-Islamic holy sites. Shortly thereafter, conflicts with a national liberation group led to a bloody battle in the city of Gao. It was then that Aliou Mahamar Toure and his group seized control of the city. Ag Ghaly announced that all cities in northern Mali were under Islamist control.
Ansar Dine has banned video games, watching sports, and music from all territories it occupies. Currently the group is battling foreign troops trying to expel them from the region.