“The French armed forces neutralized a senior al-Qaeda executive on November 10 in Mali,” Armed Minister Frances Parly said in a statement on Twitter on Friday. “I congratulate our soldiers for this success which deprives Iyad Ag Ghali of one of his main assistants. Their commitment, their courage and their altruism make us strong and proud. ”
Moussa, also known as Bamoussa Diarra, is a former Malian army officer who defected to join rebel forces in 2012, founding Iyad Ag Ghali, the terrorist group along with Ansar Dine. The group then became RVIM – also known as GSIM or JNIM – through a merger with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other extremist groups.
Parly clarified that Bah Ag Moussa was responsible for several attacks against Malian and international forces in recent years in the region.
The airstrike, part of Operation Barkhane, an ongoing offensive by French armed forces in the Sahel region of North Africa, took place in northeastern Mali at the end of a larger operation conducted with African and European allies fighting al-Qaeda-linked groups in part of the region known as the “three border zone”. According to some reports, several important personalities were also neutralized.
Parly hailed the decision as “a major success in the fight against terrorism”. According to Franceinfo, the operation was carried out with the help of “important intelligence resources” as well as helicopters and ground troops “.
AQIM Emir Abdelmalek Droukdel was also killed in June during an operation by French forces in northern Mali.
Malian government officials have said they want to start peace talks with Iyad Ag Ghali, according to a report from Le Monde. France maintains 5,000 soldiers on the ground in the Sahel. Although currently considering a troop withdrawal, France is wary of negotiations for the moment.
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