Local Malian sources report that the emir of Katibat Gourma, a sub-unit of Al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM), was killed in a French operation in northern Mali yesterday. France has confirmed it targeted Katibat Gourma, but the death of its emir is not yet confirmed.
Northern Ivory Coast has seen a substantial increase in suspected jihadist attacks since March of this year. Much of the violence is emanating from southwestern Burkina Faso, where al Qaeda’s Katibat Macina is expanding.
Baye Ag Bakabo is linked to several of AQIM’s kidnappings in Mali, including the operation that left two RFI journalists dead in 2013.
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.