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Emirate of Timbuktu
ex Sahara branch of AQIM

Jamaa Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM) (QDe.159) remains the leading and most dangerous terrorist group in the Sahel, as well as one of the most successful Al-Qaida affiliates. In 2017, Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslim (JNIM) was the umbrella group that formed after the Sahara Branch of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Murabitoun, Ansar al-Dine, and the Macina Liberation Front merged. Domestic and international security forces believed most, if not all of these groups, were coordinating their efforts.

JNIM is a coalition comprised of an estimated 100 to 150 combatants from Ansar Eddine (QDe.135), 50 to 100 from the Emirate of Timbuktu (the (QDe.014)), 50 to 80 from Al Mourabitoun (QDe.141) and approximately 500 from Katibat Macina (the former Macina Liberation Front).

In Mali, French forces, in cooperation with Malian defence and security forces, reportedly eliminated a number of jihadist figures, including the leader of the so-called Emirate of Timbuktu, Djamel Akkacha, also known as Yahia Abou el Hammam (QDi.313), on 21 February 2019. Messaoud Benaireche, also known as Abou Oussama al-Jazairi (not listed), subsequently replaced Akkacha as leader of the Emirate of Timbuktu, and Hamza al-Jazairi (not listed) took over the leadership of Al-Mourabitoun.

Notwithstanding these achievements, the security situation remains precarious, and attacks on Malian defence and security forces, as well as international forces, continued unabated. In central Mali, intercommunal violence reached unprecedented levels and has been exacerbated by the presence of armed extremist groups and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. More than 160 people of Fulani origin, mostly civilians, were killed during an attack on Ogossogou village in the Mopti region on 23 March. The border regions between Mali and Burkina Faso were the most affected by violence, with movements of presumed terrorist elements and displaced populations reported in both directions.

The Emirate of Timbuktu (the former Sahara branch of AQIM), located north of Timbuktu, benefited from the attrition of Al-Mourabitoun (QDe.141), still operating in the Gao-Ansongo sector. In central Mali, inter-ethnic violence is fuelled by terrorist groups to foster radicalization. Bah Ag Moussa (not listed) facilitates liaison between the Emirate of Timbuktu and Katibat Macina,24 which built upon its operational successes to develop a new area of operations for JNIM.

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Page last modified: 24-02-2020 18:24:05 ZULU