France says Abu Walid al Sahrawi, the leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, was killed in a drone strike in August. Al Sahrawi became a key figure in the global rivalry between the Islamic State and al Qaeda. His men were responsible for the Oct. 2017 ambush near Tongo Tongo, Niger that killed four U.S. soldiers.
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.
Almost 300 people have been killed in a series of mass killings in Niger and on a military position inside Mali. The Islamic State has officially claimed just one of the attacks, but it is believed to have carried out all of the massacres.
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 this week’s edition of the Islamic State’s weekly Al-Naba newsletter, the jihadist group claims a series of wide-ranging operations across the Sahel. This includes last month’s massacre of French aid workers in Niger, as well as a spate of battles with al Qaeda’s men.
In the latest edition of its Al-Naba newsletter, the Islamic State claims that Al Qaeda started a war against the so-called caliphate’s men in West Africa. Independent reporting shows the two sides have clashed in recent weeks.
The two jihadist groups continue their rampage in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.
Two recently released booklets by the al Qaeda group are likely meant to assuage tensions both within and outside its organization.