File picture: Malian soldiers stand in guard in Kati, outside Bamako.

Bamako, Mali -

The leader of a Malian youth militia against the Islamic occupation of the country's north has been “kidnapped” in the country's capital, his associates told AFP.

Mahamadou Diouara is the head of Bouyan Ba Hawi (Death is worth more than shame in the Songhoi language), one of several self-defence groups which have formed over government's perceived inaction against the northern occupation.

Souleymane Maiga, a member of the militia which counts several hundred youths, told AFP Dioura “was kidnapped” last week.

“We don't know if he is alive or dead,” he said, without giving further details.

The disappearance of Diouara was also reported by the Committee of Youths Following the Crisis in the North, of which he was the head of security.

The group's leader Almamy Alphamoye Haidara said Dioura was taken from his home on the evening of August 25.

“According to his family he was kidnapped by about 30 people wearing balaclavas who were on board three 4x4 vehicles,” Haidara said, adding that the movement was carrying out their own investigation. - Sapa-AFP