JNIM targets military bases in central Mali

Malian military vehicles captured by JNIM from the Dioungani base on Jan. 22.

Al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) has recently claimed a string of attacks across the Sahel in recent weeks. This includes two major assaults on Malian military bases which left dozens of soldiers dead.

In a statement released today, the jihadist group took responsibility for yesterday’s deadly assault on a military base near Sokolo in central Mali’s Segou Region.

That area, which contains the longstanding jihadist refuge Wagadou Forest, has been a hotbed of militant activity for the last several years.

According to local officials, at least 20 soldiers were killed in that raid, with at least five others wounded. Local residents reported “at least 100 attackers” and that the jihadists were able to capture several vehicles and other equipment at the base before withdrawing.

JNIM’s statement repeats this information, adding that its forces were able to “capture three soldiers.” Malian officials have not confirmed this detail.

In addition to yesterday’s assault, the jihadist group also recently took responsibility for the Jan. 22 attack on a military base near Dioungani in Mali’s central Mopti Region. That strike killed at least seven Malian soldiers.

Photos were also recently released by JNIM, which appear to show several vehicles and large amounts of weapons and ammunition captured from the base.

Other Recently Claimed Operations

Within two recent statements entitled “Various Operations,” JNIM has also claimed several attacks dating back to Dec. 28 of last year.

On that day, the al Qaeda group claimed its men targeted a Nigerien military outpost in the Tillaberi Region close to the borders with Burkina Faso. At least one Nigerien police officer was killed during that raid.

On Jan. 2, its men were responsible for an attempted prison assault in Niono in Mali’s Segou Region. Two days later, it also said its men detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) on UN troops near the northern town of Ansongo.

It also took responsibility for an ambush on Malian troops near Alatona in the Segou Region, which killed five soldiers on Jan. 6. Three days later, JNIM killed two Malian gendarmes near Dialloubé in the Mopti Region.

While on the same day, 18 Chadian peacekeepers and two civilians were wounded in a JNIM rocket barrage on the joint UN-French Amachach base near Tessalit in Mali’s Kidal Region in the extreme north of the country.

Lastly, it claimed the Jan. 22 IED attack on a convoy of Malian soldiers near Douentza in the Mopti Region. Two soldiers were left dead by that explosion.

In addition to an ascending Islamic State branch in the region, al Qaeda’s JNIM continues to mount its own deadly attacks across the Sahel further compounding the already worsening security situation.

Caleb Weiss is an editor of FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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