U.S. sanctions Burkina Faso-based terrorist group

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The U. S. has imposed sanctions on Burkina Faso-based Ansar-ul-Islam lil-Ichad wal Jihad (IRSAD), calling the militant group a terrorism threat after a string of attacks near the African country’s northern border with Mali.

According to the State Department in a statement, the designation aims to deprive the group of resources by blocking any assets the IRSAD may have under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting any Americans from entering in any transactions with the group.

US Authorities say IRSAD is an al-Qaeda-linked group behind a wave of terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso in late 2016.

It is led by radical Burkinabe preacher Malam Ibrahim Dicko.

The group reportedly seeks to reestablish the Peulh kingdom—also known as Djeelgodji—which had been toppled through French colonisation in the late 1800s.

The newly-formed group claimed responsibility for an attack on December 12, 2016, targeting a Burkinabe military post near the northern border with Mali and leaving 12 soldiers dead.

On New Year’s Eve, simultaneous assassination attempts by unidentified militants left one former IRSAD member dead and another critically wounded, in attacks that were believed to have been carried out by IRSAD.

On March 5, 2017, suspected IRSAD assailants targeted a Malian army post near the border with Burkina Faso, killing 11 Malian soldiers. (Reuters/NAN)