Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin

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Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen
Groupe de soutien à l'islam et aux musulmans
LeadersIyad Ag Ghaly
Dates of operation2 March 2017 – present
HeadquartersTinzaouaten[1]
Active regions Mali
 Algeria
 Niger
 Libya
 Mauritania
 Tunisia
 Chad
 Burkina Faso
IdeologySalafist Islamism
Salafi Jihadism
Wahabism
Size800 (2018 estimate)[2]
Part of Al-Qaeda
AlliesAnsar ul Islam[3]
 Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
Opponents Mali
 Algeria
 Tunisia
 Niger
 Libya
 France
 United States
Battles and warsthe Insurgency in the Maghreb (2002-present) and the Northern Mali conflict
Designated as a terrorist group by United Nations
 United States
 United Kingdom
 France
 Russia
 China
 Japan
 Canada
 Australia
 European Union
 NATO
 Iraq[4]
  Territories under control of JNIM

Nusrat al-Islam, officially known as Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin' (Arabic: جماعة نصرة الإسلام والمسلمين‎, JNIM; French: Groupe de soutien à l'islam et aux musulmans, GSIM[5] English Support Group for Islam and Muslims) is a militant jihadist organisation in the Maghreb and West Africa formed by the merger of Ansar Dine, the Macina Liberation Front, Al-Mourabitoun and the Saharan branch of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.[6] It is the official branch of Al-Qaeda in Mali, after its leaders swore allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri.[7]

History[edit]

On 2 March 2017, Iyad Ag Ghaly, Al Murabitoun's deputy leader, Hassan Al Ansari, Yahya Abu Hammam, Amadou Kouffa, and Abu Abderaham al-Sanhaji appeared in a video declaring the creation of Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin, and their allegiance to al-Qaeda Emir Ayman al-Zawahiri, AQIM's Emir, Abdelmalek Droukdel, and Taliban Emir, Hibatullah Akhundzada. They also praised killed al-Qaeda leaders Osama Bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.[8][9] On 16 March, Abdelmalek Droukdel released an audio message, approving the union between the groups.[10] On 19 March, Al-Qaeda issued a statement approving the new group and accepting their oath of allegiance.[11]

Two leaders sanctioned by the US Treasury's office were named as Ali Maychou and Bah Ag Moussa. Moussa was a former Malian army colonel who led an operation in March 2019 against the Malian Armed Forces base in Dioura that killed at least 21 Malian soldiers. Maychou was a native of Morocco who had claimed responsibility for a JNIM attack on a military camp that housed Malian troops in Gao, killing dozens. The Treasury office said Maychou held an operational role in JNIM's activities, while Moussa acted on behalf of JNIM's leader Iyad Ag Ghaly.[12] In 2021, two additional leaders were designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists: Sidan Ag Hitta and Salem ould Breihmatt.[13]

The French government declared that 50 jihadists linked to the al-Qaeda group were killed in central Mali during an operation launched by the French anti-jihadist Barkhane force on 30 October 2020. The French force also confiscated arms and material and captured four of the jihadists live, as per French Defense Minister Florence Parly.[14] The French authorities also confirmed the death of a key JNIM leader Bah ag Moussa with four of his group. He was in charge of terrorist operations and training new extremist recruits.[15] France has deployed more than 5,000 troops in the Sahel region to combat insurgents.

On March 29, 2021, a force of about 100 members raided a camp of UN Peacekeepers in Northern Mali, approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) from the Algerian border. Four of the Chadian Peacekeepers were killed in the assault, and 34 wounded. Initial reports suggested that approximately 20 of the jihadists had been killed, a number that was later revised to 40, including Abdallaye Ag Albaka. Ag Albaka was described as "a right-hand man to Iyad Ag Ghaly", and unofficially as the Number 3 man in the organization.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pellerin, Mathieu (November 2019). "Armed violence in the Sahara" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2020-05-23. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  2. ^ "US warns of growing African terror threat". CNN. 19 April 2018. Archived from the original on 22 April 2018. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  3. ^ 11, Dakaractu. "Un nouveau mouvement djihadiste est né au Burkina Faso". Archived from the original on 14 March 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "Iraqi, international co-operation to end terror financing".
  5. ^ Buchanan, Elsa (3 April 2017). "Mali: Terror threat spreads after Sahel groups join forces to create new jihadist alliance". Archived from the original on 7 April 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Al-Qaeda now has a united front in Africa's troubled Sahel region". 3 March 2017. Archived from the original on 22 May 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  7. ^ AP (3 March 2017). "Three Islamic extremist groups of Mali merge, pledge to al-Qaida". Business Standard India. Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017 – via Business Standard.
  8. ^ Reuters (20 March 2017). "Al Qaeda branch rallies jihadists to join forces after Mali merger - defenceWeb". Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  9. ^ "Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin / Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM) -- AQIM, Ansar Dine, Macina Liberation Front & Mourabitounes Coalition - Terrorist Groups - TRAC". Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  10. ^ @Rita_Katz (20 March 2017). "2) Message comes 2days after #AQIM..." (Tweet). Retrieved 12 April 2017 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ @Terror_Monitor (19 March 2017). "#AlQaeda Central Welcomes Merger Of..." (Tweet). Retrieved 12 April 2017 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ "Two leaders of Mali al-Qaeda affiliate put on US terrorism list after attacks". Al Arabiya. July 16, 2019. Archived from the original on July 21, 2019. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  13. ^ 86 FR 44465
  14. ^ "French airstrikes kill over 50 people in Mali". DW.com. 3 November 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  15. ^ "French military kills Al Qaeda-linked commander Bah ag Moussa, four others in Mali". FirstPost / AP news agency. 14 November 2020. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  16. ^ "Several Dozen Jihadists, Including Commander, Killed in Mali: UN". The Defense Post. 6 April 2021. Retrieved 9 July 2021.