Paris goes on the counterattack: 60 jihadists eliminated in Mali

(To Tiziano Ciocchetti)

In recent months, the General Staff of the French Armed Forces (EMA) has been particularly careful not to give an assessment of the various operations carried out by French forces in the Sahel. At most, it has communicated on the destruction of material seized from armed terrorist groups (GAT). This November 2nd, however, made an exception.

On the radio frequencies of Europa1, in fact, the Chief of Staff (CEMA), General François Lecointre, announced that an attack by the special forces (Task Force Sabre) made it possible to eliminate about sixty jihadists in the Boulikessi region in Mali on 30 October last. the intervention of the Paris special forces took place as part of a larger operation, launched in early October, at the end of the rainy season in the region.

"At the end of the rainy season, we conducted a special effort of several weeks by mobilizing all our resources, ie 5.100 men", explained General Lecointre, for whom this type of action "it allows to destabilize the enemy, to keep it more and more at bay and to reduce its offensive capabilities".

As for the October 30 action, described as "a significant success within Operation Barkhane and the Special Operations Command (COS)" by CEMA, targeted a group of fighters affiliated with Ansarul Islam, a jihadist group founded in Burkina Faso by the preacher Ibrahim Malam Dicko.

The latter was killed three years ago during the Operation Bayard, led by French forces in the Foulsaré forest, in April 2017.

According to the CEMA, the French raiders, supported from the air by Mirage 2000D, would have prevented, with their action, the attack on a Malian garrison located in the Boulikessi region. In addition, many jihadists have been captured. "We always try to take as many prisoners as possible to get information and then, above all, to send them to trial"added the chief of staff.

The Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, currently traveling in the Sahel, also referred to this action by the French forces, evaluating the losses of the jihadist militias in about fifty dead.

"On October 30 in Mali, the forces of Operation Barkhane carried out an operation that allowed to neutralize more than 50 jihadists, also confiscating weapons and materials"said Ms Parly. He further added that "This timely action deals a severe blow to an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group, a katiba of Ansarul Islam, operating in the Boulikessi region, near the border with Burkina Faso". This action was taken after two MQ-9 UAVs Reaper they had identified the moving column of jihadists.

In the tense atmosphere after the recent attacks in France, also on November 2, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) called on its supporters to kill anyone who insults Muhammad and threatened to take revenge on President Macron, who defended the right to freedom. of expression.

"Killing those who insult the prophet is the duty of every Muslim who is able to do so", AQIM affirmed, in a statement published in response to the proposals made by Emmanuel Macron during the homage paid to the Sorbonne to the history professor Samuel Paty, assassinated in Conflans Sainte Honorine by a jihadist of Chechen origin, on 16 October last.

Images: État-major des armées / Europe1