Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has sent a message of support to its fellow al Qaeda branch for recently killing five French soldiers.
France has claimed it killed Bah Ag Moussa, an important JNIM commander, in a recent military raid in northern Mali. JNIM has not yet commented on the news.
In an interview with the Islamic State’s Al-Naba newsletter, Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, the leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, attempts to paint al Qaeda’s efforts in the region as rife with internal squabbles and disunity.
In exchange for the release of dozens of imprisoned members from Mali’s prisons, Al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) has freed four hostages, three of them foreign. JNIM has since celebrated the prisoner swap, including a personal appearance by its overall emir, Iyad Ag Ghaly, in northern Mali.
JNIM claims its first suicide bombing of the year on French troops in the Timbuktu region of northern Mali.
While JNIM has not claimed the assault, its Katibat Macina is widely suspected of perpetrating the attack. This comes after sustained operations against it in the area last month.
The two jihadist groups continue their rampage in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.
The attack in Mali’s northern Gao region is one of the deadliest in recent months.