French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday, September 15, that the French armed forces have neutralized the head of the group “Islamic State in the Greater Sahara”
“Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, the leader of the terrorist group Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, has been neutralized by French troops,” the French leader wrote on Twitter.
Macron said the event was another major success in France’s fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel, a region of some 100 million people that includes Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad (the Sahel Five).
The president added that the nation is “thinking this evening about all its heroes who died for France in the Sahel in the Serval and Barkhan operations, about the families of those who died, about all its wounded.”
“Their sacrifice is not in vain. Together with our African, European and American partners, we will continue this fight,” Macron stressed.
On Aug. 9, at least 12 soldiers and gendarmes were killed in a militant attack in Burkina Faso. Seven members of the Defense and Security Forces of Burkina Faso (DFS) are also missing.
On June 24, a massacre of child soldiers aged 12-14 in Burkina Faso became known. As a result of the incident, 132 people were killed and 40 others were wounded. A three-day mourning period was declared in the country.
In October 2020, Macron expressed satisfaction with the development of relations between Paris and Tallinn and thanked Estonia for its participation in the counterterrorist operation in the Sahel zone.
The African Sahel region is one of the continent’s most troubled because of terrorist activity and illegal migration. In 2014, France launched Operation Barkhan, an anti-terrorist operation in the region. This mission is supported by the regional structure of the Sahel Five, which includes Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.