Johan Gustafsson was reportedly released by al Qaeda militants in Mali and has arrived back in Sweden. Another person abducted alongside him, South African Stephen Malcolm, remains in captivity.
Yesterdays assault near Bamako is yet another instance of the jihadist group targeting popular resorts in West Africa.
The raid, which occurred last year, was a joint operation that included several al Qaeda groups in Mali. The video is likely meant to show that the raid was a precursor to the merger that would from the Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM).
Al Qaeda’s newly formed entity, the Group for Support of Islam and Muslims, have perpetrated a multitude of attacks in Mali and elsewhere in West Africa this year. This represents a major security threat for the region.
Yesterday’s mortar barrage comes just a week after a similar incident left one UN peacekeeper dead. Al Qaeda’s forces in Mali continue to retain the ability to strike foreign forces across the country’s north.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) presented its written “Worldwide Threat Assessment” to the Senate last week. The analysis confirms that the Islamic State is capable of sustaining insurgencies in both Iraq and Syria, Afghan security continues to “deteriorate,” and al Qaeda remains a threat in several parts of the globe.
AQIM’s Uqba bin Nafi battalion claimed an IED blast on Tunisian troops close to the Algerian border. This is the second claim in two months for the jihadist group.
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.