Mali – Gao – Jihadism

Islamic State closing in on Mali's Gao

APA - Bamako (Mali)

The jihadists who have been active in Mali since 2012 are gaining strength and gathering momentum in the north of the country.

On Monday November 21, the village of Kadji, part of the commune of Gounzereye, near the city of Gao, was the target of an attack by armed men allegedly belonging to the Islamic State in the Sahel (EIS).

 The attackers targeted a camp for internally displaced people in the area. 

Speaking on national television on Tuesday, General Moussa Moriba Traoré, governor of Gao, said that eleven people were killed in the attack, for which the jihadists have yet to claim responsibility.

According to several observers, this attack reveals the jihadists' intention to test the security structure in the city of Gao for possible future infiltration inside the city.

 In 2012, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), an offshoot of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), occupied the northern Malian city and enforced a rigorous version of Sharia law before being dislodged in January 2013 by the French intervention, Serval. 

Nearly ten years later, the jihadists remain active in the region.

 Settling scores

 The commander of the eastern theatre of Operation “Maliko” (Between Us Malians, in Bambara), launched by the Malian army in January 2021, Colonel Famouké Camara, summarizes the attack on Kadji as a settlement of scores between armed groups.

For several months, the EIS has been increasing its operations in northern Mali, between the regions of Ménaka and Gao. 

In July, EIS occupied the village of Talataye for 48 hours after battling against units of the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM) linked to AQIM and pro-government Tuareg movements.

At the end of the clashes, EIS claimed to have killed around 60 GSIM and Tuareg fighters. 

At the end of October, the latter tried to make up for this "affront" by attempting counter-offensives against EIS positions in the Ménaka region. 

According to information gathered from severla relief organisation by APA, clashes between the two jihadist groups are continuing in localities in Ménaka where hundreds of civilians have been killed since March.

 

AC/lb/as/APA

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