AQIM leader Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud has confirmed that Almansour Ag Kassam (Almansour Ag Alkassoum), an important jihadist who worked with several al Qaeda groups, was killed by France in November.
Monday’s suicide bombing in Gao was the first claimed suicide bombing of JNIM since July.
The jihadist leader’s speech, while new, continued previous mantras used by JNIM and its predecessor organizations against the various armed militias operating in northern Mali.
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.