Al Qaeda’s newly formed entity, the Group for Support of Islam and Muslims, have perpetrated a multitude of attacks in Mali and elsewhere in West Africa this year. This represents a major security threat for the region.
Despite a relative lull in the use of females in suicide bombings in 2016 compared to 2015, West Africa is currently seeing a significant uptick in the use of females so far in 2017.
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.
With at least 257 al Qaeda-linked attacks in Mali and its neighboring countries, this represents a significant uptick in the al Qaeda-led insurgency in northern Mali in recent years.
The Islamic State has officially recognized a loyalty oath sworn by Abu Walid al Sahrawi, a jihadist based in West Africa. Sahrawi first swore his fealty to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in May 2015. It is not clear why it took so long for the so-called caliphate to recognize him as one of its representatives.
Today’s attempted prison break is just the most recent in a spate of attacks in Niger from suspected Malian-based jihadists.
No group has to yet to claim this, but al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has been behind several kidnappings of Westerners in Niger in the past.
The attack was reportedly perpetrated by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, but no group has yet to claim the assault.