At least 276 attacks in Mali and its neighboring countries were linked al Qaeda in 2017. This includes a significant shift of violence to central Mali, as well as northern Burkina Faso.
At least 50 people were killed by a suicide bomber during morning prayers at a local mosque in northeastern Nigeria. No group has claimed the attack, but it fits with the modus operandi of that of Abubakr Shekau’s faction.
US AFRICOM has confirmed that three US Special Forces troops have been killed in an ambush near Mali. The three are the first American soldiers to die in combat in the country.
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.