French Armed Forces Kill Islamic State Leader in Greater Sahara, Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi

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French armed forces have killed Adnan Abu Walid al‑Sahrawi, the leader of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), France's president Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday(Sep 15).

Al-Sahrawi's Islamist militia operates in the border region linking Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. In August 2020, Al-Sahrawi personally ordered the killing of six French charity workers and their Nigerian driver. His group had also claimed responsibility for the October 2017 attack in Niger that killed four US military personnel and four people with Niger’s military.

Al-Sahrawi imposed Sharia law in the region, making veils compulsory for women, enforced the cutting off of hands for thieves, and banned music, sport, alcohol, and tobacco.

French armed forces have killed Adnan Abu Walid al‑Sahrawi, the leader of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), France's president Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday(Sep 15).

“It’s another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel,” the French president said, without disclosing the location of the operation.

Macron tweeted that al-Sahrawi "was neutralized by French forces" but provided no further details.

Sahel region is a 5,900-km-long semi-arid territory that spreads across at least three countries in Africa- Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso

Four terror organizations - the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), the Boko Haram, Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (jnim) - are active in the Sahel resulting in violence, extremism and instability of the region.

In June this year, at least 160 people in a border village in Burkina Faso in the Sahel region were massacred by operatives of ISGS. In March, 137 people were killed by jihadists in Niger.

French Military Presence In Sahel

French troops have been operating in the Sahel since 2013, when they stopped armed northern separatists and jihadists from capturing Bamako, Mali’s capital. They have stayed to fight jihadists.

It recently announced, though, that it would be reducing its military presence in the region, with plans to withdraw 2,000 troops by early next year.

Adnan Abu Walid al‑Sahrawi And ISGS

Al-Sahrawi's Islamist militia operates in the border region linking Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

In August 2020, Al-Sahrawi personally ordered the killing of six French charity workers and their Nigerian driver. His group had also claimed responsibility for the October 2017 attack in Niger that killed four US military personnel and four people with Niger’s military.

Al-Sahrawi imposed Sharia law in the region, making veils compulsory for women, enforced the cutting off of hands for thieves, and banned music, sport, alcohol, and tobacco.

Originally from the disputed territory of Western Sahara, Al-Sahrawi was initially a member Polisario Front, an outfit that is fighting for the creation of separate homeland for Sahrawi people . After spending time in Algeria, he made his way to northern Mali where he became an important figure in the group known as MUJAO, a group loyal to the regional Al Qaida. Al-Sahrawi later switched allegiance to the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

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