French forces killed the leader of the jihadist group Islamic State in the Great Sahara (EIGS), Adnan Abou Walid al-Sahraoui, a "major success", announced President Emmanuel Macron on the night of Wednesday to Thursday.
"This is another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel," the French president said on Twitter.
This summer, in June and July, Paris had already announced the death or capture of several high-ranking EIGS executives by the French force Barkhane and its partners, as part of its strategy to target leaders and executives of the EIGS. jihadist organizations.
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.
- Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) September 15, 2021
The head of the EIGS "died following a strike by the Barkhane force" after a "long-term hunt", tweeted for his part the French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, also welcoming "a decisive blow against this terrorist group.
Our fight continues ”.
The head of the EIGS - Daesh's No. 1 in the Sahel - died following a strike by the Barkhane force.
I congratulate the military and intelligence agents who have contributed to this long-term hunt.
It is a decisive blow against this terrorist group.
Our fight continues.
- Florence Parly (@florence_parly) September 15, 2021
The EIGS, created in 2015 by Adnan Abou Walid al-Sahraoui, former member of the Polisario Front, then of the jihadist movement Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), was designated as a "priority enemy" in the Sahel, during the summit. from Pau (southwest of France), in January 2020.
He is in fact considered to be in charge of most of the attacks in the region of the “three borders”, a vast space with vague outlines straddling Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, countries which are among the most important. poor of the world.
This area is the recurring target of attacks by two jihadist armed groups: the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS) and the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), affiliated with Al Qaeda.
Tribute to "heroes who died for France in the Sahel"
The EIGS carried out particularly deadly attacks, targeting civilians and soldiers, in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.
He had targeted US soldiers in a deadly attack in October 2017, in which four US Special Forces soldiers and four Nigeriens were ambushed in Tongo Tongo, near Mali, in southwestern Niger .
At the end of 2019, the EIGS had carried out a series of large-scale attacks against military bases in Mali and Niger.
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And on August 9, 2020, in Niger, the head of the EIGS personally ordered the assassination of six French aid workers and their Nigerien guide and driver.
This attack against young people engaged in humanitarianism had aroused strong emotion in France and Niger, then classified in the red zone, or "formally discouraged", with the exception of the capital Niamey, by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
After more than eight years of significant engagement, Emmanuel Macron announced in June a reduction of the French military presence in the Sahel and the end of the anti-jihadist operation Barkhane in favor of a tightened device, refocused on counterterrorism operations. and support in combat for local armies, around an international alliance bringing together Europeans.
“The Nation is thinking this evening of all its heroes who died for France in the Sahel in the Serval and Barkhane operations, of the bereaved families, of all of its wounded. Their sacrifice is not in vain. With our African, European and American partners, we will continue this fight, ”added Emmanuel Macron in another tweet.