Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin

Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (Arabic: جماعة نصرة الإسلام والمسلمين, JNIM; French: Groupe de soutien à l'islam et aux musulmans, GSIM;[7] lit.' Support Group for Islam and Muslims') is a militant jihadist organisation in the Maghreb and West Africa formed by the merger of Ansar Dine, the Macina Liberation Front, Al-Mourabitoun and the Saharan branch of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.[8] Its leaders swore allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri.[9]

Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen
Groupe de soutien à l'islam et aux musulmans
LeadersIyad Ag Ghaly
Dates of operation2 March 2017 – present
Allegiance Al-Qaeda
Afghanistan Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan[1]
Active regions Mali
 Burkina Faso
IdeologySalafi Jihadism
Size2,000 (2022 estimate)[3]
Part of Al-Qaeda
Allies Ansar ul Islam[4]
al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb[5]
Opponents Mali
 United States

Islamic State in the Greater Sahara
Wagner Group

Battles and warsthe Insurgency in the Maghreb (2002-present) and the Northern Mali conflict
Designated as a terrorist group by United Nations
 United States
 United Kingdom
 European Union
  Territories under control of JNIM

In 2022, the Economist noted that JNIM is the fastest-growing terrorist group globally.[10]

History edit

On 2 March 2017, Iyad Ag Ghaly, Al Murabitoun's deputy leader, Hassan Al Ansari, Yahya Abu Hammam, Amadou Kouffa, and Abu Abderaham al-Sanhaji appeared in a video declaring the creation of Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin, and their allegiance to al-Qaeda Emir Ayman al-Zawahiri, AQIM's Emir, Abdelmalek Droukdel, and Taliban Emir, Hibatullah Akhundzada.

They also praised killed al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.[11][12] On 16 March, Abdelmalek Droukdel released an audio message, approving the union between the groups.[13] On 19 March, Al-Qaeda issued a statement approving the new group and accepting their oath of allegiance.[14]

Two leaders sanctioned by the US Treasury's office were named as Ali Maychou and Bah Ag Moussa. Moussa was a former Malian army colonel who led an operation in March 2019 against the Malian Armed Forces base in Dioura that killed at least 21 Malian soldiers. Maychou was a native of Morocco who had claimed responsibility for a JNIM attack on a military camp that housed Malian troops in Gao, killing dozens. The Treasury office said Maychou held an operational role in JNIM's activities, while Moussa acted on behalf of JNIM's leader Iyad Ag Ghaly.[15] In 2021, two additional leaders were designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists: Sidan Ag Hitta and Salem ould Breihmatt.[16]

The French government declared that 50 jihadists linked to the al-Qaeda group were killed in central Mali during an operation launched by the French anti-jihadist Barkhane force on 30 October 2020. The French force also confiscated arms and material and captured four of the jihadists live, as per French Defense Minister Florence Parly.[17] The French authorities also confirmed the death of a key JNIM leader Bah ag Moussa with four of his group. He was in charge of terrorist operations and training new extremist recruits.[18] France has deployed more than 5,000 troops in the Sahel region to combat insurgents.

On March 29, 2021, a force of about 100 members raided a camp of UN Peacekeepers in Northern Mali, approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) from the Algerian border. Four of the Chadian Peacekeepers were killed in the assault, and 34 wounded. Initial reports suggested that approximately 20 of the jihadists had been killed, a number that was later revised to 40, including Abdallaye Ag Albaka. Ag Albaka was described as "a right-hand man to Iyad Ag Ghaly", and unofficially as the Number 3 man in the organization.[19]

Aims and support edit

The Center for Strategic and International Studies describes JNIM as "an al Qaeda-affiliated Salafi-jihadist insurgent organization that seeks to replace established state authority with a conservative interpretation of Islamic law."[5]

The Africa Center for Strategic Studies has said that JNIM does not have wide popular support.[20]

References edit

  1. ^ "JNIM as a foreign terrorist organization".
  2. ^ Pellerin, Mathieu (November 2019). "Armed violence in the Sahara" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2020-05-23. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  3. ^ "The State of al Qaeda and ISIS Around the World".
  4. ^ "Un nouveau mouvement djihadiste est né au Burkina Faso". Archived from the original on 14 March 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Examining Extremism: Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin". Archived from the original on 2022-01-25. Retrieved 2022-01-25.
  6. ^ "Iraqi, international co-operation to end terror financing". Archived from the original on 2021-06-20. Retrieved 2020-08-04.
  7. ^ Buchanan, Elsa (3 April 2017). "Mali: Terror threat spreads after Sahel groups join forces to create new jihadist alliance". Archived from the original on 7 April 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Al-Qaeda now has a united front in Africa's troubled Sahel region". Newsweek. 3 March 2017. Archived from the original on 22 May 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Three Islamic extremist groups of Mali merge, pledge to al-Qaida". Business Standard India. Associated Press. 3 March 2017. Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017 – via Business Standard.
  10. ^ "The world's centre of terrorism has shifted to the Sahel". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2023-11-29.
  11. ^ "Al Qaeda branch rallies jihadists to join forces after Mali merger". Reuters. 20 March 2017. Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  12. ^ "Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin / Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM) -- AQIM, Ansar Dine, Macina Liberation Front & Mourabitounes Coalition - Terrorist Groups - TRAC". Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  13. ^ @Rita_Katz (20 March 2017). "2) Message comes 2days after #AQIM..." (Tweet). Retrieved 12 April 2017 – via Twitter.
  14. ^ @Terror_Monitor (19 March 2017). "#AlQaeda Central Welcomes Merger Of..." (Tweet). Retrieved 12 April 2017 – via Twitter.
  15. ^ "Two leaders of Mali al-Qaeda affiliate put on US terrorism list after attacks". Al Arabiya. July 16, 2019. Archived from the original on July 21, 2019. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  16. ^ 86 FR 44465
  17. ^ "French airstrikes kill over 50 people in Mali". DW.com. 3 November 2020. Archived from the original on 13 November 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  18. ^ "French military kills Al Qaeda-linked commander Bah ag Moussa, four others in Mali". FirstPost / AP news agency. 14 November 2020. Archived from the original on 13 November 2020. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  19. ^ "Several Dozen Jihadists, Including Commander, Killed in Mali: UN". The Defense Post. 6 April 2021. Archived from the original on 10 July 2021. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  20. ^ "The Puzzle of JNIM and Militant Islamist Groups in the Sahel". Archived from the original on 2022-01-25. Retrieved 2022-01-25.