Al Qaeda leader killed by the French forces in northern Mali, Algeria, many close associates are also neutralized.
The Defence Minister of France announced the French forces have killed the leader of the militant group Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Algerian Abdelmalek Droukdel, in northern Mali.
Florence Parly – the french Defence Minister said, Droukdel was killed on Thursday near the Algerian border, where the group has bases from which it has carried out attacks and abductions of Westerners in the sub-Saharan Sahel zone.
She added that “Many close associates” of Droukdel — who commanded several affiliate militant groups across the lawless region — were also “neutralised”.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) emerged from a group started in the late 1990s by radical Algerian militants, who in 2007 pledged allegiance to Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network.
The group has claimed responsibility for a string of attacks on troops and civilians across the Sahel, including a 2016 attack on an upmarket hotel and restaurant in Burkina Faso, which killed 30 people, mainly Westerners.
France has deployed more than 5,000 troops to combat militant groups in the region — a largely lawless expanse stretching over Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, where drugs and arms flow through porous borders.