French President Emmanuel Macron said early Thursday that French troops had “neutralised” Adnan Abou Walid al Sahraoui, leader of the jihadist group Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.
“Adnan Abou Walid al Sahraoui, leader of the Islamic State terrorist group in the Great Sahara, has been neutralised by French forces. This is another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel,” Macron wrote on Twitter.
Adnan Abou Walid al Sahraoui, chef du groupe terroriste État islamique au Grand Sahara a été neutralisé par les forces françaises. Il s’agit d’un nouveau succès majeur dans le combat que nous menons contre les groupes terroristes au Sahel.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) September 15, 2021
For former colonial power France, Adnan Abou Walid Sahraoui was the most wanted jihadist in the Sahel.
He was at that time a member of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) jihadist group, which was one of the militias that took control in the north.
But Sahraoui declared his allegiance to the Islamic State group in 2015.
His militia has been highly active, and has been blamed for a string of attacks in 2019 and this year.
In a first for the Sahel, it has also begun to fight al Qaeda-linked groups, with several instances of inter-jihadist warfare occurring this year.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)