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Islamic State leader in Great Sahara dies

President Emmanuel Macron confirmed on Thursday the death of Adnan Abu Walid Al-Sahrawi considered responsible for most of the jihadist…

President Emmanuel Macron confirmed on Thursday the death of Adnan Abu Walid Al-Sahrawi considered responsible for most of the jihadist attacks in the tri-border area straddling Mali, Niger and Burkina.According to the French head of state, the elimination of the emir of the Islamic State in the Great Sahara (EIGS) constitutes “a new major success in the fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel.”

 

Announcing the news on Twitter Wednesday night, Macron did not indicate the date of the death of Adnan Abu Walid Al-Sahrawi but said that the man nicknamed Awas “was neutralized by French forces” present in the Sahel since August 2014 under the operation Serval which became Barkhane.

 

For her part, French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly explained on Radio France Internationale (RFI) that the Al-Sahrawi was neutralized in “an attack that took place a few weeks ago and we are certain today that it is indeed the number one of the EIGS.”

 

Earlier on Twitter, she hailed this “decisive blow against this terrorist group” which is one of the main jihadist organisations that France and its partners are fighting in the Sahel.

 

The EIGS, created in 2015 by Adnan Abou Walid Al-Sahraoui, had in fact been designated a “priority enemy” in the Sahel since 2020. Adnan Abou Walid al-Sahraoui, whose real birth name is Lehbib Ould Ali, was born in the 1970s in Western Sahara.

 

A member of the large nomadic Reguibat tribe, he joined several armed movements, including Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI). After the Islamist armed movement during the Algerian civil war, he joined the Polisario Front before appearing in northern Mali in 2010. He participated in the founding of the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao); an Islamist group close to Al-Qaeda.

 

Many observers believe that his death comes at a time when the terrorist organisation has been greatly weakened by the neutralisation of several of its top leaders in recent months.

 

Last June, France was still claiming to have killed the general emir of Aqmi, Abdelmalek Droukdel. A death that was described as a “psychological blow for jihadism” by the Moroccan professor of International Relations at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Djallil Lounna, in an interview with APA.

 

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