Several communities in Mali’s northern Menaka Region have turned to al Qaeda’s men in the face of extreme pressure and violence from the Islamic State’s local wing.
The photo offers a rare look into jihadist governance in the Sahel, in which jihadists loyal to both al Qaeda and the Islamic State wield both direct and indirect control over many rural areas.
The attack in Mali’s northern Gao region is one of the deadliest in recent months.
JNIM took credit for last month’s suicide assault in Gao, Mali. According to the French, however, the attack was largely a failure.
The jihadist conglomerate, as suspected, claimed Sunday’s deadly siege on a military base in central Mali.
Monday’s suicide bombing in Gao was the first claimed suicide bombing of JNIM since July.
The jihadist group claims the bombing, and last week’s bombing at the G5 Sahel base in central Mali, were messages to warn France and its allies about the “costs” of being in Mali.
Only days after a suicide assault on an African military base in central Mali, another suicide car bombing hit French Barkhane troops in the northern city of Gao.
The recent battle comes less two weeks after the Tuareg militias last clashed with militants from the so-called Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.
The operations, which occurred alongside French special forces, were to reportedly kill or capture Abu Walid al Sahrawi, the leader of the so-called Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.
After almost one month of media silence, al Qaeda’s JNIM returns to social media to claim responsibility for a complex assault on UN forces near the northern Malian city of Kidal.
The al Qaeda group continues to target French forces in northern Mali, as well as conduct attacks on Malian and UN troops elsewhere in the country.
The suicide assault left at least seven dead, another 17 wounded, and a further 16 missing. This comes just a week after another eight Malian troops were killed in an ambush in southern Mali.
The suicide bombing, which left at least 50 people dead, is one of the largest terrorist attacks in Mali’s history.