Airstrike kills top ISIS leader in Mali

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A top jihadist leader from the Islamic State group’s West Africa affiliate has been killed in an airstrike in Mali, France’s military has said.

Commandos deployed to the ground after the airstrike confirmed the death of Mohamed Ag Almouner and one of his bodyguards, the army statement said.

It regretted that a woman and a teenager had also been killed in the strike that took place overnight on Sunday into Monday, it said.

Almouner belonged to the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) group, the army said.

Military spokesman Col Patrik Steiger told the AFP news agency that Almouner had been “a lieutenant to the ISGS chief”.

According to AFP, ISGS is based on Mali’s border with Burkina Faso and is also active in Niger.

It is led by Adnan Abu Walid Sahrawi, who was formerly a member of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and also co-led Mujao, a Malian Islamist group.

French troops are currently in Mali leading counter-terrorism operations.

France has encouraged five regional countries to contribute troops to the 5,000-strong G5 Sahel Joint Force to take on terror groups, drug smuggling and human trafficking across the Sahara.

 

BBC/Emmanuel Ukoh