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.