Monthly Archives: July 2016

Battle of Niger: Summary and takeaways from Boko Haram/ISWAP video

By Rida Lyammouri

July 6th, 2016

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On July 5th, 2016, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) or better known as Boko Haram, released a 14mn video titled: the Battle of Bosso. Exactly a month ago on June 3th ISWAP militants conducted one of the deadliest attacks on Nigerien forces military base of Bosso, Niger. Video mainly intends to reinforce ISWAP propaganda that regional forces are unable to stop the group from conducting attacks on hard targets and to demonstrate capability of defeating them. Important to note that an initial short video was released June 7th, three days after Bosso attack. However, July 5th video is 12 times longer, has more contents, and much better quality. The video included passages of speeches from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) from 2004 to 2006, was killed in June 2006. Continue reading


Mali: June 2016 Violence Related to AQIM, Ansar al-Din, MUJWA, and Other Security Incidents

By Rida Lyammouri

July 4th, 2016

Violent extremist organizations (VEOs) operating in Mali remained aggressive in June and deadly throughout northern and central Mali, especially Ansar al-Din. VEOs operational in Mali include Ansar al-Din, the Macina Liberation Front (MLF) or Ansar al-Din southern brigade, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA or MUJAO). The Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), French, and Malian forces are the main target. Improvised explosive device (IED) still the main tactic used by VEOs.

June also saw attacks against members of armed groups under unclear circumstances. This includes the assassination of High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA) military chief in Ber, member of Ganda Izo at Bourem Sidy Amar, and the kidnapping of the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA) spokesman at Ber.

June also witnessed new developments in central Mali, notably the creation of new group identified as Alliance Nationale pour la Souvegarde de l’Identité Peule et la Restauration de la Justice (ANSIPRJ) on 19 June 2016. This will further complicate operations countering the rise of the MLF and efforts to eradicate violence related to tribal and ethnic tensions in central Mali.

Numbers recorded in June 2016 by Maghreb and Sahel Blog:

  • 26 violent incidents in Mali involving VEOs.
  • Ansar al-Din claimed 10 out of 26 incidents against French, MINUSMA, and Mali forces.
  • IEDs were used 7 out of 26 times during the attacks.
  • MINUSMA forces and MINUSMA contractors were targeted 6 times. Continue reading