As JNIM rallies its members and supporters against France and Mali, it depicts the fight with the two countries as part of al Qaeda’s wider global jihad.
The State Department announced today that it has designated Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), al Qaeda’s branch in Mali and West Africa, as a terrorist organization. JNIM and its leader, Iyad Ghali, are openly loyal to al Qaeda and the Taliban’s emir.
In a military operation yesterday, the French reportedly killed a top Tuareg commander for the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara in Mali’s northern Menaka region.
Sultan Ould Bady, a veteran jihadist within various al Qaeda groups in Mali and later the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, turned himself in to the Algerian military yesterday.
Rising communal violence in both northern and central Mali further weakens the already fragile state, which in turn, further helps jihadists exploit these problems for their own gain.
The jihadist group claims the bombing, and last week’s bombing at the G5 Sahel base in central Mali, were messages to warn France and its allies about the “costs” of being in Mali.
Only days after a suicide assault on an African military base in central Mali, another suicide car bombing hit French Barkhane troops in the northern city of Gao.
While no group has claimed responsibility yet, it was most likely conducted by al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims.