Leader of Islamic State in Greater Sahara Abu al-Walid al-Sahrawi is dead, Macron says

The head of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara Abu al-Walid al-Sahrawi was killed on Wednesday, President Emmanuel Macron of France, announced on Twitter.

Macron described the killing of al-Sahrawi as “another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel.”

The terrorist group had claimed responsibility for numerous attacks throughout the Sahel, including an attack that killed four U.S. soldiers in Niger, and is also believed to have also killed French charity workers.

“Tonight, the Nation is thinking of all its heroes who died for France in the Sahel,” Macron said. “Their sacrifice is not in vain. With our African, European and American partners, we will continue this fight,” he added.

Macron said al-Sahrawi was killed by French forces but provided sketchy details. For instance, it was not clear when and where al-Sahrawi, who had also spent time as the spokesman of the Mali-based group known as MUJAO, was killed.

The Associated Press noted that MUJAO is an organization that was loyal to the regional al-Qaeda affiliate.

In a tweet, French Defense Minister Florence Parly congratulated the military and intelligence community, describing the killing as “a decisive blow against this terrorist group.”

Macron announced in July that it would be reducing its military presence in the region by half and would be completing the withdrawal by 2022 as money from the United States became hard to come by.

France has been fighting terrorism in the Sahel in West Africa since 2013 following an intervention in Mali.

France, a former colonial master, is often resented by local populations, and many believe that with America donating less money to France to fight its war on terror in West Africa, the announcement of the recent killing is another way to get more money from the United States and fight a unilateral war that involves little African presence.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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