N'DJAMENA, Chad – A presidential spokesman says that Chadian President Idriss Deby announced that Chadian troops fighting to dislodge an al-Qaida affiliate in northern Mali killed one of the group's leading commanders, Abou Zeid.
Officials in Mali and France, which is leading an international military intervention in Mali against Islamic extremists, could not confirm reports of the death of Abou Zeid. He is a leader of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and was behind the kidnapping of several Westerners.
The Chadian president's spokesman said that Deby announced the death of Abou Zeid during a ceremony Friday for Chad's fallen soldiers.
The spokesman insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak ahead of an announcement on state television on the matter. He gave no further details.