Local Malian sources report that the emir of Katibat Gourma, a sub-unit of Al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM), was killed in a French operation in northern Mali yesterday. France has confirmed it targeted Katibat Gourma, but the death of its emir is not yet confirmed.
Amadou Kouffa, the leader of JNIM’s Katibat Macina, has been designated as a global terrorist by the US State Department.
No group has yet to claim the attacks, but al Qaeda-linked militants have been widely blamed.
French forces reportedly killed dozens of jihadists after a three-week long operation in central Mali.
Human Rights Watch has documented dozens of civilians who have been murdered by both jihadists and government forces in Burkina Faso. This helps exacerbate the conditions that allow jihadists to operate in the region.
The ambush marks one of the deadliest attacks inside Burkina Faso, which is part of the growing jihadist violence inside the country.
AQIM leader Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud has confirmed that Almansour Ag Kassam (Almansour Ag Alkassoum), an important jihadist who worked with several al Qaeda groups, was killed by France in November.
Burkina Faso’s wanted list gives more information into the inner-workings and operations of Ansaroul Islam, a relatively under-researched and little understood al Qaeda-linked jihadist group.
The State Department has designated Ansaroul Islam, a Burkinabe jihadist group affiliated with al Qaeda’s network in Mali, as a terrorist organization. FDD’s Long War Journal has tracked the rise of the group since its founding in late 2016.
At least 276 attacks in Mali and its neighboring countries were linked al Qaeda in 2017. This includes a significant shift of violence to central Mali, as well as northern Burkina Faso.
Al Qaeda’s JNIM remains a potent threat to both Malian and UN forces inside Mali. In addition, Ansaroul Islam, a Burkinabe jihadist group linked to JNIM, continues to terrorize Burkina Faso’s northern Sahel region.
The attacks represent a significant increase in jihadist attacks in northern Burkina Faso. In addition, the use of improvised explosive devices, previously unknown to the country, is on the rise.
The Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM), al Qaeda’s new group in West Africa, claimed an ambush on French troops in central Mali near the borders with Burkina Faso. Additionally, it also claimed launching Grad rockets into a French base in northern Mali.
Earlier this month, four al Qaeda groups in West Africa merged to form the “Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims.” Its constituent organizations launched more than 250 attacks across the region in 2016, a significant increase in the jihadists’ operational tempo from the previous year.