French forces conducted near simultaneous raids and airstrikes on three jihadist targets belonging to al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM).
The video acts as a proof-of-life video for Gloria Narvaez, a Colombian nun kidnapped in southern Mali last year. She was last seen in a video released in July 2017.
At least 276 attacks in Mali and its neighboring countries were linked al Qaeda in 2017. This includes a significant shift of violence to central Mali, as well as northern Burkina Faso.
Al Qaeda’s JNIM remains a potent threat to both Malian and UN forces inside Mali. In addition, Ansaroul Islam, a Burkinabe jihadist group linked to JNIM, continues to terrorize Burkina Faso’s northern Sahel region.
These assaults serve as a reminder of al Qaeda’s vast capabilities to strike across the region. This comes even with both a French counter-terrorism operation and a UN peacekeeping operation in Mali. Al Qaeda’s operational capacity in Mali and the wider West African region has largely remained intact.
US AFRICOM has confirmed that three US Special Forces troops have been killed in an ambush near Mali. The three are the first American soldiers to die in combat in the country.
The attacks represent a significant increase in jihadist attacks in northern Burkina Faso. In addition, the use of improvised explosive devices, previously unknown to the country, is on the rise.
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.