Tag Archives: Islamic State

MALI: 25 perished in attacks

Islamist militants are suspected to be a group behind the killing 25 people including 13 soldiers in multiple attacks in central Mali, burning down an army base and ambushing troops sent as reinforcements, the army and local authorities said on October 13.

The attacks were the deadliest since the August 18 military coup d’état ousting unpopular President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, and came just days after scores of jailed jihadists were freed by the interim government in a prisoners for hostages swap.

Nine soldiers were killed in the first attack that took place overnight against a base in Sokoura near the border with Burkina Faso, the army statement reads.

At around 8:30 a.m. (0830 GMT) on Tuesday, on October 13, another three soldiers were killed in an ambush at a bridge near the base as their unit headed to the scene of the first attack, the army statement explains.

Nine militants were killed in clashes with the reinforcement unit and two of their vehicles destroyed by the air force.

In a third assault about 40 minutes later near the town of Bandiagara, gunmen ambushed a commercial truck, killing 12 traders and one soldier, according to Moulaye Guindo, the mayor of nearby Bankass, to which the traders were en route.

A witness said he saw nine bodies at the military base and helped transport 20 wounded to local medical centres.

“They (jihadists) took all the vehicles and burned those they could not take away. The camp is burned,” said the witness, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal.

A transitional government has been appointed since the military coup. But regional and international powers fear the violence could further destabilise the West African nation and undermine a French-directed military campaign against insurgents linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in the wider Sahel region.

Nigeria: jihadists abdicted hundreds of displaced

Insurgents from the Islamic State group West Africa Province (ISWAP), affiliated to Boko Haram, attacked Kukawa in the Lake Chad region late on August 18, seizing hundreds of people who had just returned to their homes after spending nearly two years in displacement camps, said Babakura Kolo, head of a local militia.

“The terrorists attacked the town in 22 trucks around 4:00 pm (1600GMT) yesterday and engaged soldiers guarding the town in a fierce battle,” he said.

Residents of Kukawa, escorted by the military, had returned to the town just on August 2, on the orders of the Borno state authorities.

They had been living in camps in the regional capital Maiduguri, 180 kilometers away, where they fled following a brutal attack in November 2018.

A local chief who accompanied the residents to the town said the people had returned with the hope of cultivating their farmlands “only to end up in the hands of the insurgents”.

“We don’t know what they would do to them but I hope they don’t harm them,” said the chief, who asked not to be identified for safety reasons.

A security source who confirmed the incident to AFP said fighter jets were deployed from Maiduguri on August 19 to “tackle the situation”, without giving further details.

Mozambique neutralised over 100 Islamists

Mozambique security forces killed at least 129 insurgents in the northern region Cabo Delgado that has been plagued by violence for at least the last three years, the interior minister said on April 28.

Since 2017, infrequent but violent raids on government buildings and villages by armed groups with suspected links to the Islamic State (ISIS) have intensified in northernmost province of one Africa’s poorest nations.

The interior ministry said the 129 killings were the total for the month, and were a retaliation for an attack in Xitaxi in Muidumbe district earlier in April, where insurgents killed 52 villagers.

The insurgents profile reamins obscure, though initial attacks were claimed by a group known as Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama. More recently, Islamic State (IS) has claimed a number of attacks.

Mali military death toll risen

Daesh fighters in Mali have killed dozens of soldiers in one of the deadliest offensives against the governmental forces in recent memory. The the sources report two figures: 49 and 53 men perished in the attack, and one civilian.

It is possible that the toll will be even higher, taken into consideration the wounded, who have injuries ‘incompatible with life’. One civilian has become a collateral victim in the attack on an isolated military base the government said.

The authorities first reported the attack in Indelimane, in Menaka region, on November 1, but the initial death toll was lower.

“Heavily armed unidentified men attacked around noon. The attack started with shellfire … Then they retreated toward Niger,” the government spokesperson Yaya Sangare said.

Spokesperson also explains the death toll was not final because the bodies were still being identified, and that the army has launched a combing operation on the ground with support from international forces, including French troops and UN peacekeepers.

The Islamic State (IS) group said via their site Amaq news claimed being behind the attack.

Mali has been tormented by radical Islamistes since 2012, when the militants took over the north. With the assistance of French military, Mali’s army has recovered the territories.

However, the djihâd groups there did not abandon the idea to establish Caliphate, and they continued to fight against the governmental forces.

In a separate incident on November 2, a French soldier was killed in Liptako in the same area. 

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Brigadier Ronan Pointeau died after his armoured vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb, the French government said in a statement. Brigadier is the equivalent of corporal.

It was earlier reported that 54 soldiers had died in the attack on the military post, based on a statement by Mali government spokesperson, Yaya Sangare.

Nigeria imposes ID cards in three States

Nigerian  will require the travelers in three northeastern states to carry identification cards in an effort to track the members of Boko Haram and Islamic State, the army statesman announced.

The new requirement follows credible information that members of the two terrorist groups were hiding among civilians in the towns and villages of the states.

The army said it would “strictly check” the ID card of those moving or passing through the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

IS claims Burkina Faso deadly attack

The Islamic State affiliated group has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on Burkinabé  military leaving 24 dead. FRANCE 24 TV Channel expert Wassim Nasr says the claim is credible and that the attack shows how IS group has expanded its reach in northern Burkina Faso. (Image: illustration).

The August 20 attack on a military post in the north-eastern village of Koutougou killed 24 soldiers. By claiming responsibility for this attack, IS group has demonstrated its capacity to strike in areas where al Qaeda tends to be active.

Burkina Faso’s military said 24 soldiers were killed and seven others injured on August 19 in a “major attack by armed terrorist groups” in the Koutougou department of Soum province in the northern Sahel bordering Mali.

Mali: Barkhane operation continues

The French General Staff informed about an operation carried out from 25 July to 3 August 2019  in Mali by Barkhane  and the Malian Armed Forces, underlining “the ability and determination of the Malian soldiers to fight alongside Barkhane“.

The 4,500 French troops deployed in former French colonies for ‘Operation Barkhane’ face huge logistical challenges in hostile terrain. The major difficulty is cooperation with a civilian population spread haphazardly across vast and remote spaces, often either sympathetic to the Islamists or terrified of informing about them.

In Gossi, a plagued by Islamic State fighters next to the borders with Burkina Faso and Niger, the town’s local government Councillor had fled after being threatened and found refuge in the Malian base, according to the French Commander.

Operation Barkhane was launched in the wake of Operation Serval, a French offensive that pushed back Tuareg rebels and allied Islamists from northern Mali’s vast desert in 2013.

While Serval had brought moderate stability to northern Mali, unrest had spread to the country’s more populated center, with attacks also reaching neighboring Burkina Faso, Niger and even Ivory Coast.

With no end date announced at its launch, the follow-up operation would try to stabilise countries in the region by assisting their governments in a West African anti-terrorism force. Five years on, no end is in sight.

“We have a dogged adversary, who is tough, drawing from a breeding ground that is favourable to him because the population is isolated,” Colonel Nicolas James, Commander of Desert Tactical Croup Belleface.

Today the radical Islam is actively exploiting modern means of communications, that is why patrol has to search not only for weapons, but also for propaganda in smartphones. When conducting operations, they have to screen the content of smartphones of locals to detect incriminating  jihad propaganda.

On a rare trip with the French troops into central Mali, Reuters journalists were searching for answers why a five-year-old mission, initially planned as a short-term operation to hand over to local forces, may have many more years left to run.

Back in 2018 the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General François Lecointre said: “I do not think that it is possible to solve the problem in Mali in less than ten to fifteen years, if we can at all. The evolution of the situation in Mali is not satisfactory and we will not leave tomorrow, leaving it in stagnation“.

The Barkhane operation relays on €600 millions a year funding.

In spite of being ranked as the third largest in Africa resource of gold, Mali remains of the poorest countries in the world, dependent on international aid. Main gold mines, Sadiola and Morila still constitute the model, which is named “gold-dependent economy”, providing the state with more than a half of export revenue. The average wage in Mali is around a euro per day, and more than half of the population currently lives below poverty line.

 

Niger military slain in ambush

More than 17 soldiers in Niger were killed and 11 went missing in an ambush close to Mali border, a government spokesman said.

The offensive was launched near the town of Tongo Tongo, where fighters from an Islamic State affiliate previously killed four U.S. special forces and four Nigerien soldiers.

“…The governments of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad – member states of the G5 Sahel, a regional organization for security cooperation created in 2014 – are having great difficulty in facing the progressive spread of jihadist violence and the strengthening of criminal trafficking networks”,  Ph.D Camillo Casola writes.

G5 Sahel countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger– are expected to have a meeting in Brussels next week to enhance security and military cooperation with the EU amid intensified attacks of Islamic terrorists.