Ahmad Al-Faqi al-Mahdi, Islamic enforcer of Timbuktu

Ahmad Al-Faqi Al-Mahdi was transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2015Ahmad Al-Faqi Al-Mahdi, whose war crime trial in The Hague opens on Monday, is a quiet Koranic scholar turned ruthless enforcer for jihadists when they occupied the fabled Malian city of Timbuktu. Born around 40 years ago in Agoune, 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Timbuktu, the curly-haired former teacher was steeped in Islamic learning from a young age. Mahdi was soon recruited by the Islamist group Ansar Dine as "the most competent and prominent person in Timbuktu when it came to being knowledgeable in religious matters", in the words of International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors.

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