Jeff Woodke, who spent over six years captive in the Sahel, and Olivier Dubois, who spent almost two years as a hostage, were finally freed from the clutches of al-Qaeda’s men in the Sahel. The United States has denied paying a ransom.
Host Bill Roggio is joined again by (semi-official?) co-host Caleb Weiss to discuss Jihadi control in Africa. In the last several years, Jihadists have moved toward central and southern Mali and are now threatening Bamako, the capital of Mali. In Burkina Faso, Jihadis control around 40% of the country. Bill and Caleb walk through past and present Jihadi attacks, offenses, and operations.
Several communities in Mali’s northern Menaka Region have turned to al Qaeda’s men in the face of extreme pressure and violence from the Islamic State’s local wing.
Over the last two weeks, al Qaeda’s West African branch has made a more concerted effort to advance closer to the Malian capital of Bamako.
At least three Italians, one Polish citizen, and one American have been kidnapped in the Sahel over the last two months. At least five other Westerners remain in captivity in the region – all of which are held by jihadist groups.
Host Bill Roggio is joined by two Long War Journal regulars, Caleb Weiss and Andrew Tobin, to give listeners an update on what’s happening on the ground in Africa from the Sahel — including that more than 400 Malians have been slaughtered in under one month — to “elections” and Shabaab attacks in Somalia.
Around 400 civilians, mainly from a small ethnic group in northern Mali’s rural border areas near Niger, have been killed by the Islamic State since March 8.
France says its forces killed Yahia Djouadi, a senior veteran of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, inside northern Mali. The raid comes after France and its European allies are set to withdraw from Mali.
Host Bill Roggio is joined by Caleb Weiss — a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation and long-time contributor to FDD’s Long War Journal — for an update on the latest surrounding various jihadist groups across the African continent.
Local Malian sources report that the emir of Katibat Gourma, a sub-unit of Al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM), was killed in a French operation in northern Mali yesterday. France has confirmed it targeted Katibat Gourma, but the death of its emir is not yet confirmed.
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.
Baye Ag Bakabo is linked to several of AQIM’s kidnappings in Mali, including the operation that left two RFI journalists dead in 2013.
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.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has sent a message of support to its fellow al Qaeda branch for recently killing five French soldiers.
France has claimed it killed Bah Ag Moussa, an important JNIM commander, in a recent military raid in northern Mali. JNIM has not yet commented on the news.
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 exchange for the release of dozens of imprisoned members from Mali’s prisons, Al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) has freed four hostages, three of them foreign. JNIM has since celebrated the prisoner swap, including a personal appearance by its overall emir, Iyad Ag Ghaly, in northern Mali.
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.
Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio are joined by Caleb Weiss, a longtime contributor to FDD’s Long War Journal.
JNIM claims its first suicide bombing of the year on French troops in the Timbuktu region of northern Mali.
Hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio discuss the life and reported death of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s emir, Abdulmalek Droukdel.
While JNIM has not claimed the assault, its Katibat Macina is widely suspected of perpetrating the attack. This comes after sustained operations against it in the area last month.
The two jihadist groups continue their rampage in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.
The attack in Mali’s northern Gao region is one of the deadliest in recent months.
Al Qaeda’s branch in West Africa, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin, has released a statement saying it is willing to meet with the Malian government — but only after French and allied forces withdraw from the area.
Two recently released booklets by the al Qaeda group are likely meant to assuage tensions both within and outside its organization.
It is unclear if the unit represents a splinter of al Qaeda’s JNIM, though the group now represents an Islamic State-loyal faction close to the borders with Mauritania.
The al Qaeda group has claimed a series of attacks across the Sahel in recent weeks.
Over the last month, the jihadist group has killed at least 174 Nigerien soldiers in three separate attacks.