The State Department has designated Ansaroul Islam, a Burkinabe jihadist group affiliated with al Qaeda’s network in Mali, as a terrorist organization. FDD’s Long War Journal has tracked the rise of the group since its founding in late 2016.
Earlier this month, four al Qaeda groups in West Africa merged to form the “Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims.” Its constituent organizations launched more than 250 attacks across the region in 2016, a significant increase in the jihadists’ operational tempo from the previous year.
No one has claimed the assault, but Ansar Dine was behind a jailbreak last month.
The video shows the aftermath of an ambush on Malian troops in central Mali last month. The jihadist group’s two battalions that operate in central and southern Mali continue to threaten the region.
Despite not previously reporting taking hostages during last month’s attack in Nampala, Ansar Dine is now claiming to have captured five Malian soldiers during the large-scale assault.
The assault is one of the largest on a Malian military base in recent years, and has left twice as many Malian soldiers dead as last year’s attack on the same base.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and associated groups have unleashed a string of attacks in Mali and elsewhere in West Africa this year.
The first video promises to be the first of many of Ansar Dine’s southern branch. Ansar Dine’s Katibat Macina, which is more commonly known as the Macina Liberation Front, is integrated within al Qaeda’s larger strategy for Mali and West Africa.