Yesterday’s ambush was the highest death toll in a terrorist attack in the country since the Islamic State’s foray into Ben Gardane in March 2016.
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.
Yesterday’s claim was just the second released by the group this year. However, al Qaeda Tunisian branch has continued to harass both the local security forces and the local population.
Al Qaeda’s general leadership and regional branches have released statements denouncing the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Suspected jihadists laid siege to a popular restaurant with Westerners in the capital of Burkina Faso. Two UN bases were also attacked by jihadists in Mali.
The video serves as both a warning to foreigners and foreign governments in Mali, as well as a proof of life video for each of the six foreign hostages currently held by JNIM in Mali.
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.