Head of Islamic State in Greater Sahara 'Neutralized' by French Forces, Macron Reveals
23:31 GMT 15.09.2021 (Updated: 00:24 GMT 16.09.2021)
Emmanuel Macron reveals that French forces have neutralized Adnan Abou Walid al-Sahraoui, leader of the terrorist group Islamic State* in the Greater Sahara.
Adnan Abou Walid al-Sahraoui was France's most wanted jihadist in the Sahel. His branch of the Islamic State is highly active in the border region of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. The incredibly arid region is sparsely populated and difficult for local and international forces to police. Emmanuel Macron, in a tweet, expressed his pleasure over the successful operation.
"Adnan Abou Walid al Sahraoui, leader of the terrorist group Islamic State in the Greater Sahara was neutralized by French forces. This is another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel."
In October of 2017, al-Sahraoui led the Tongo Tongo ambush of American and Nigerian forces. The death of four US soldiers sparked debate and investigation over the US's presence in Africa. Reports found that US troops were inadequately prepared for the attack. The ambush remains the largest loss of American troops in Africa of the 21st century.
Adnan Abou Walid al Sahraoui, chef du groupe terroriste État islamique au Grand Sahara a été neutralisé par les forces françaises. Il s’agit d’un nouveau succès majeur dans le combat que nous menons contre les groupes terroristes au Sahel.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) September 15, 2021
In 2010, al-Sahraoui joined Katiba Tarik ibn Zayd, a branch of al-Qaeda, which aims to overthrow the Algerian government and install an Islamic state. In 2011, he was one of the founding members of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa.
It wasn't until 2015 that al-Sahraoui pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State. His militia has been highly active in the region and has been blamed for a series of attacks since 2019.
*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist organisation outlawed in Russia and many other states