Coming roughly a month after France reported it had killed Abu Walid al Sahrawi, the Islamic State’s leader in the Sahel, the Islamic State itself has finally subtly confirmed the reports. The jihadist group has not publicly named a successor.
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.
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.
The photos detail the In-Delimane assault earlier this month which left over 50 Malian soldiers dead.