ABOARD A FRENCH GOVERNMENT PLANE, Mali: French forces killed a top leader of a powerful African militant group linked to al-Qaeda in Mali last month, France's defence minister told AFP on Tuesday (Nov 5).
Moroccan Ali Maychou of the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) was "the second most-wanted terrorist in the Sahel, including by the Americans", Florence Parly said aboard a government plane as she returned from an official visit to the West African region.
The GSIM has claimed responsibility for the biggest attacks in the Sahel since its official launch in 2017.
Comprising several extremist groups linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the GSIM alliance is led by a Tuareg Malian, Iyad Ag Ghaly, a 29-year veteran.
Ali Maychou was killed during the night of Oct 8 in Mali with the help of Malian troops and US support, Parly added.
He had joined al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in 2012 before co-founding GSIM with Iyad Ag Ghaly and masterminding its expansion in the Sahel.
The announcement came as Parly sought to reassure Mali of the support of European forces after a devastating militant attack last week that left dozens of soldiers dead.
The nation's military is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency despite the help of forces from France, Africa and the United Nations, with a string of deadly assaults underscoring the fragility of a region where militant violence has claimed hundreds of lives.Read More – Source