Home World News the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara to conquer the northeast of...

the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara to conquer the northeast of the country

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It is war within the war in Mali. On March 27, the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS) again clashed with the Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA), a Daoussak Tuareg militia signatory to the Algiers peace agreement. They fought in Ménaka and around Gao, in the northeast of the country, without it being known independently the number of people killed, combatants and civilians.

→ ANALYSIS. In Mali, the security situation is deteriorating dangerously

Mali’s most dangerous territory

Since the beginning of March, the EIGS and the MSA have been waging war in this Malian region near Niger, according to UN, French and local sources. An area considered the most dangerous in Mali, abandoned by the state and claimed by the Tuareg separatists. It is through this region that the routes of drugs and migrants from sub-Saharan coastal countries also pass to reach the Maghreb and the Machrek: first, the Libyan route used by most of the traffic to Europe .

A region where the various Salafist branches sponsored by Gulf countries have taken root since the end of the 1980s and where jihadist groups, all supporters of Salafist Islam, have flourished. It is in this uncontrollable kaleidoscope that the EIGS confronts the MSA and their allies of the Permanent Strategic Framework (CSP, the platform of the signatory groups of the Algiers agreement, mainly Tuaregs) to gain control.

A conflict that is also played out against a backdrop of community rivalries between the Daouassak Tuaregs of the MSA and the Fulani, the majority within the EIGS. All living from livestock, they compete for access to pastures and water points. On several occasions, both sides have been accused by major human rights NGOs of committing abuses against civilians. The human rights office of the United Nations Mission in Mali (Minusma) thus accused the Tuaregs of the MSA of serious abuses against the Fulani in April 2018.

Clashes in the main cities of the region

For three weeks, the EIGS and the MSA have been violently opposed in the communes and the surroundings of Tamalat, Inchinanane, Andéramboukane, Talatai. Each time, the Islamic State took over before the MSA, supported by the Gatia (1), could regain a foothold in the towns where they had just been attacked. But everything indicates that the EIGS seems increasingly strong in this region as in neighboring Burkina and Niger.

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A rise in power which contradicts the series of victorious remarks made in recent years by the French Minister for the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, on the decisive blows struck against this group and its leaders. The death of their emblematic leader, Abou Walid Al Sahraoui, killed at the end of August 2021 by Barkhane was not the major success as Emmanuel Macron had also proclaimed in a recklessly triumphant tweet.

The Islamic State also targets the Malian army and the Minusma

Proof of its vitality, the EIGS also attacks the Minusma and the Malian army (Fama). Thursday, March 24, he attacked a Minusma convoy to Tessit, south of Ansongo, in the Gao region. And 16 Malian soldiers were killed Monday, March 21 in Tessit and Boni (center) in two separate attacks, the first of which was claimed by the Islamic State organization. As the Burkinabé newspaper Le Pays writes in its March 28 edition, “this renewed activism of the EIGS is all the more cause for concern since it was believed that the filthy beast was mortally affected, this after the elimination, last year, by the French army, of several of its executives including the emblematic Abou Walid Al Sahraoui”.

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This intensification of the fighting is not unrelated to the announced and begun departure of the Barkhane force from Mali. Present in this troubled region, the French force is completing its withdrawal from Gossi, has begun that of Ménaka and is preparing that of its last Malian base, Gao. “We too have noted an upsurge in ISGS attacks. He has regained freedom of action in this area of ​​Mali, but he is not attacking Barkhane”, underlines a military source in Paris. ” Now, writes The Country, everything happens as if the terrorists wanted to take advantage of the vacuum left by the French force to occupy spaces where they intend to continue to exert their influence. »

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