IS leader killed in Sahel
According to Reuters, Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, the head of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), was killed by French military forces on Thursday via drone strike.
“The death of Sahrawi is a decisive blow to ISGS and its cohesion,” French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly told reporters. “We have no information on a successor at this stage, but it probably won’t be easy to find a leader who has the same weighting than the one who was killed.”
Currently there are many IS affiliates all around Africa, including in Nigeria, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Mozambique. Each affiliate presents a unique danger to the society where it operates, though none of them is as large or as deadly as IS’s affiliates in the Sahel.
The ISGS, based in Mali, pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2015 and since then has spread throughout the Sahil region, including the tri-border region between Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, the site of frequent attacks by jihadist groups.
“The death of Sahrawi will likely disrupt ISGS operations in the short-term,” said Alexandre Raymakers, senior Africa analyst at risk intelligence company Verisk Maplecroft. “But it is unlikely to permanently cripple the extremist group.”