Islamic State in the Greater Sahara

The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (IS-GS) is a terrorist group adhering to the ideology of Salafi Jihadism. IS-GS was formed on 15 May 2015 as the result of a split within the militant group Al-Mourabitoun. The rift was a reaction to the adherence of one of its leaders, Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui,[2] to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Since March 2019, IS-GS is formally part of the Islamic State's West Africa Province (ISWAP);[3] accordingly, it is also called "ISWAP-Greater Sahara".[4]

Islamic State in the Greater Sahara
LeadersAdnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi 
Dates of operation13 May 2015–present
HeadquartersNear Ménaka, Gao Region
Active regionsMali, Niger, Burkina Faso
IdeologySalafi jihadism
Size400-1,000[1]
Part ofIslamic State of Iraq and the Levant Islamic State – West Africa Province
Designated as a terrorist group bySee below

HistoryEdit

Al-Mourabitoun was created on 22 August 2013 after the merging of MUJAO and Al-Mulathameen.[5] On 13 May 2015, elements of Al-Mourabitoun under the leadership of Abu Walid al-Sahraoui pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.[6][7][8][9] It operated independently until 30 October 2016, when it was formally recognised by the Islamic State.[10][11][12][13]

The group's ranks increased by dozens of Mali militants and sympathizers from the Gao Region[14] near Ménaka.[15]

On November 28, 2019, Spanish authorities issued a warning on the possibility of a terror attack in the region against Spanish citizens visiting or working in the Saharawi refugee camps in Western Sahara.[16]

Spanish authorities feared the attacks would coincide with the Spanish Día de la Constitución (December 6) celebrations.[17] Secret services warned of the risk of a jihadist attack in the Sahara region at refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria.[18] Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic denied this threat.[19] No attack happened.

During 2021, the group carried out massacres in Niger, mainly in the regions of Tillabéri and Tahoua, killing more than 600 people.[20]

In December 2021, the French army announced that it had killed in Niger, one of the perpetrators of the assassination of six French humanitarian workers and their Nigerien companions in the Kouré reserve in August 2020. The man is presented as Soumana Boura. The staff had identified him as leading a group of several dozen EIGS fighters, in the Gober Gourou and Firo area, in western Niger. a member of the Islamic State in the Grand Sahara (EIGS).[21]

Organization, forces and locationEdit

Commanding officersEdit

The group was founded and headed by Adnan Abu Walid Al-Sahraoui until he was killed by a French drone strike in Mali in 2021.[22]

Al-Sahraoui may have been replaced towards the end of 2019 by a new emir, Abdoul Hakim Al-Sahraoui.[citation needed] Among his other commanders are Doundoun Chefou, Illiassou Djibo alias Petit Chafori (or Djafori) and Mohamed Ag Almouner, known as "Tinka", killed by the French army on August 26, 2018.

ForcesEdit

In early 2017, Marc Mémier, a researcher at the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI), estimated that the Islamic State in the Grand Sahara had a few dozen men – not counting sympathizers – mostly Malians in the region of Gao. At the end of 2015, RFI indicated that the group's workforce would total around one hundred.

According to a report from the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at West Point, the EIGS had 425 combatants in August 2018.

Settlement area and ethnic baseEdit

The group is based in the Ménaka region.

As with other armed groups in the Sahel, jihadists or not, the EIGS is part of a largely community-based dynamic. A large part of its combatants are thus Peuls. In Mali, the latter are for the most part Nigerien nationals whom the droughts and the demographic surge of Zarma and Hausa peasants, which is exerted from the south to the north, have pushed on the Malian side of the border. Adnan Abu Walid Al-Sahraoui won the support of many members of this community by promising to protect them against raids and theft of cattle carried out by the Tuaregs, starting with the Dahoussahak (Idaksahak).

However, the EIGS would include members from the two communities. Thus, at present, the combatants of the EIGS are divided into two katibas (combatant units), one composed mainly of Daoussahak and the other of Peuls.

AnalysisEdit

Designation as a terrorist organizationEdit

Country Date References
  United States 23 May 2018 [23]
  United Nations 23 February 2020 [24]
  Argentina 23 February 2020 [25]
  New Zealand 23 February 2020 [26]
  Canada 2 February 2021 [27]
  Iraq [28]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "UN report indicates al-Qaeda and ISIS enjoy safe haven in Turkish-controlled Idlib". Nordic Monitor. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  2. ^ "Rewards for ISIS-GS Leader Adnan Abu Walid". VOA. 10 October 2019. Archived from the original on 5 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  3. ^ Zenn (2020), p. 6.
  4. ^ Bacon & Warner (2021), p. 80.
  5. ^ AFP (22 August 2013). "Afrique : fusion de 2 groupes djihadistes". Le Figaro (in French). Archived from the original on 28 April 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Le groupe El-Mourabitoune prête allégeance à l'Etat islamique". Alakhbar (in French). 13 May 2015. Archived from the original on 23 November 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  7. ^ "El-Mourabitoune appelle les autres groupes jihaidstes à prêter allégeance à l'Etat islamique (Audio)". Alakhbar (in French). 13 May 2015. Archived from the original on 26 November 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  8. ^ AFP (15 May 2015). "Sahel : un chef d'Al-Mourabitoune prête allégeance à l'organisation de l'État islamique". France 24 (in French). Archived from the original on 15 August 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  9. ^ "Mali-Sahel: lutte de positionnement des groupes jihadistes". Radio France Internationale (in French). 6 December 2015. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  10. ^ Olivier, Mathieu (13 October 2016). "Dix ans après sa création, où en est l'État islamique en Afrique et au Maghreb ?". Jeune Afrique (in French). Archived from the original on 16 October 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  11. ^ "Bel Mokhtar dément l'allégeance du groupe El-Mourabitoune à l'Etat Islamique". Alakhbar (in French). 15 May 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  12. ^ AFP (15 May 2015). "Mokhtar Belmokhtar récuse l'allégeance du groupe Al-Mourabitoune à l'EI". France 24 (in French). Archived from the original on 15 August 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  13. ^ "Mali: le groupe Etat islamique officialise sa présence au Sahel". Radio France Internationale (in French). 31 October 2016. Archived from the original on 1 November 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  14. ^ Mémier, Marc (January 2017). AQMI et Al-Mourabitoun : le djihad sahélien réunifié? (PDF). Études de l’Ifri (in French). Institut français des relations internationales. p. 54. ISBN 978-2-36567-661-8. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 March 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  15. ^ "Niger: 15 militaires tués lors d'une attaque près de la frontière malienne". Radio France Internationale (in French). 23 February 2017. Archived from the original on 26 February 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  16. ^ [https://web.archive.org/web/20191129014826/https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/11/28/world/europe/ap-eu-spain-attack-alert.html Archived 2019-11-29 at the Wayback Machine Spain Warns of Possible Sahara Camp Terror Attack
  17. ^ González, Miguel (28 November 2019). "Los servicios secretos alertan del riesgo de atentado yihadista contra españoles en el Sáhara". El País (in Spanish). Madrid: Prisa. Archived from the original on 28 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  18. ^ Araluce, Gonzalo (28 November 2019). "Informes secretos alertan del riesgo de "atentado inminente" contra españoles en el Sáhara". El Español (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 28 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  19. ^ "Exteriores alerta del riesgo de atentado contra españoles en el Sáhara". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 28 November 2019. Archived from the original on 28 November 2019. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  20. ^ "Gunmen kill up to 15 soldiers in southwest Niger, sources say". Reuters. 5 November 2021.
  21. ^ "Attaque de Kouré au Niger: l'armée française annonce avoir tué un membre du commando". RFI. 22 December 2021.
  22. ^ Ataman, Joseph (16 September 2021). "French President claims targeted killing of ISIS chief in Sahara". CNN. Retrieved 16 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. ^ "Foreign Terrorist Organizations". Archived from the original on 27 February 2020. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  24. ^ "ISIL (Da'esh) & Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee / Narrative Summaries of Reasons for Listing". United Nations Security Council. United Nations. n.d. Retrieved 1 October 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. ^ "Registro Público de Personas y Entidades vinculadas a actos de Terrorismo y su Financiamiento - RePET -". Ministero de Justicia y Derechos Humanos. Presidencia de la Nación. n.d. Retrieved 1 October 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  26. ^ "Designated individuals and organisations" (PDF). New Zealand Police. New Zealand Government. 7 September 2021. Retrieved 1 October 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. ^ "Entités terroristes inscrites". Sécurité publique Canada. Gouvernement du Canada. 25 June 2021. Retrieved 1 October 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 31 May 2021. Retrieved 1 October 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Works citedEdit

Further readingEdit