France Kill Leader Of Islamic States In Greater Sahara

The President of France has announced the death of Adnan Abu Walid Al-Saharaw, the leader of Islamic State in Greater Sahara in the hands of the French military forces on Wednesday.

French President Emmanuel Macron, has stated that his country’s troops killed the leader of the Islamic States in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), Adnan Abu Walid Al-Sahrawi. 

Macron stated that the killing of Sahrawy is yet another “major success” for French military forces in their fight against terrorism in the Sub-Saharan region.

He also mentioned that the French army had recorded some casualties but he gave no further details in his statement Wednesday night. 

“This evening, the nation’s thoughts are with all its heroes who have died in the Sahel for France … with the grieving families, with all its wounded. Their sacrifice has not been in vain. With our African, European and American partners, we will continue our efforts in this battle,” Macron said

Who is Sahrawi? 

The 48-year-old terrorist was born in Laayoune, Western Sahara, Morocco, to a wealthy family who fled the country for an Algerian refugee camp. He became a member of the Polisaro Front, where he received military training. 

Sahrawi co-founded “Jama’atut Tauhid Wal Jihad Fir Garb Ifriqiyya” (Movement for Monotheism and Jihad in West Africa) in Oct. 2011, which split from Al-Qaeda and operated primarily in Southern Algeria and Northern Mali. 

In 2013, he declared himself the leader of a group called “Mujahideen Shura” (Council of Mujahideen), which later merged with Mokhtar Belmoukhtar to form Almourabitoon.

In 2015, Saharawi pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) and formed the Islamic State in Greater Sahara, which was later accepted by the IS more than a year later.

Islamic State in Greater Sahara (ISGS) 

Since its formation, ISGS has become the dominant terrorist group operating along the Mali-Niger border over the past three years, according to an Amnesty International report

The ISGS attacks have displaced tens of thousands of people and forced the closure of schools across the border. Thousands of people have migrated to secure areas abandoning their properties in the region. 

“The group recruited primarily among marginalized pastoral communities, exploiting their deep-rooted grievances against the state, violations by security forces, and competition for resources with farming communities.”

“ISGS then began extracting ‘taxes’ from border communities. Over time their methods have become more predatory. In a series of large-scale attacks, ISGS has rampaged through villages on their motorbikes, targeting and killing men and older boys and sometimes also shooting to death or severely injuring other civilians.” 

“In the first three months of 2021, at least 306 civilians were killed in that part of Tillabéri and neighbouring Tahoua regions in just four deadly attacks, including 46 children between the ages of five and 17. In May 2021, ISGS claimed responsibility for two of the attacks,” gathered the report. 


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Aliyu Dahiru

Aliyu Dahiru is an assistant editor and head of extremism and radicalization desks at HumAngle. He is a fact-checker and has a passion for analyzing jihadism in Africa and telling the stories of those affected by conflict and insecurity. Tweets: @Aliyussufiy

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