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Tortured by military, Mali jihadists in custody say

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 1, 2013 at 6:46 a.m.

— Three suspected jihadists arrested in the days since they liberated the town of Timbuktu said Friday that Malian soldiers were torturing them with a method similar to waterboarding.

The three are being held in an earthen cell in what remains of the military camp in Timbuktu, which was liberated earlier this week by French and Malian soldiers after nearly 10 months under the rule of radical Islamists.

The men, who were tied together with a turban and one handcuff, all acknowledged to The Associated Press having been members of the al-Qaida-linked group known as Ansar Dine, or Defenders of the Faith.

β€œTo force me to talk they poured 40 liters of water in my mouth and over my nostrils, which made it so that I could not breathe anymore. For a moment I thought I was even going to die,” said one of the men, who gave his name as Ali Guindo and said he was from a village near the central Malian town of Niono.

β€œI sleep in the cold, and every night they come pour freezing water over me. β€œ

All three prisoners described similar treatment. Their account could not be independently verified. Soldiers holding the three asked reporters to leave after initially allowing journalists to speak with them.

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