Mr Marlboro: the jihadist back from the 'dead' to launch Algerian gas field raid
For a man whose death in combat in the Malian city of Gao was announced last June, Mokhtar Belmokhtar – the Islamist militant allegedly behind the raid on the Ansema gas field in Algeria – has been surprisingly busy.
Since that raid – which saw the deaths of several foreign oil workers, including a Briton, and the kidnapping of 41 more – Belmokhtar has been described in journalistic shorthand as "al-Qaida".
On Thursday, as it was reported that some 25 of those captives had escaped, the real motives behind Belmokhtar's raid – and his relationships with other Islamist groups in the Sahel – began to emerge as far more complex than first reported.
The standard version of Belmokhtar's career as an Islamist leader is easy to summarise. The man dubbed the Uncatchable, as well as Mr Marlboro for his involvement in cigarette smuggling, was born in Ghardaia, Algeria, in 1972, starting his jihadist activities early.