On Mar. 2, a new al Qaeda joint venture in West Africa was announced. The “Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims” is led by Ansar Dine’s Iyad Ag Ghaly and is openly loyal to Ayman al Zawahiri. It brings together four groups that were already part of al Qaeda’s international network.
The explosion killed three civilians and left 16 wounded, including nine Nigerien UN peacekeepers. The group said that it was directly targeting Nigerien troops because of Niger’s president Mahamadou Issoufou’s response in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.
The rocket barrage has not yet been claimed, but al Qaeda-affiliated groups have launched similar attacks on the UN in the past. This comes one day after a terrorist attack, perpetrated by group loyal to al Qaeda, occurred in Mali’s capital.
The assault, which has been claimed by the Al Qaeda-affiliated group, is the first of its kind in Bamako.
Various jihadist groups around the world have commented on the terrorist attacks in Paris and have lauded the terrorists as “heroes.”
Malian officials claimed that Oumar Ould Hamaha, whom the US has offered a $3 million reward, was killed. The report is unconfirmed.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar united his group, the al-Mulathameen Brigade, with Ahmed el Tilemsi’s Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa to form the al-Murabitoon. The new group has praised the emirs of al Qaeda and the Taliban.