Both groups have claimed deadly assaults in Burkina Faso, playing into the already perilous security situation in the country.
Two leaders of al Qaeda’s Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM), a Moroccan national and a local Malian, were designated as terrorists today.
The Islamic State’s men in the Sahel have claimed a recent IED on US troops in Niger, as well as downing a French helicopter and assassinating a Tuareg militia member in Mali.
Al Qaeda’s branch in Mali attacked a UN base earlier today, killing at least ten peacekeepers from Chad. The group says that the assault was part of Ayman al-Zawahiri’s global campaign, which rejects the “normalization” of Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also visited Chad today.
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 claim, if it is confirmed, marks the first Islamic State attack in the Sahel.
Map: The countries most at risk for a coup in 2013
Officials warn of crisis in northern Africa