The French army announced on Monday that its anti-jihadist force in Mali had killed Yahia Djouadi, a “senior leader” of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in charge of finance and logistics.
Djouadi, an Algerian also known as Abou Ammar al-Jazairi, was killed on the night of February 25-26 around (160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Timbuktu in central Mali, the report said. armed in a statement.
His death “weakens al-Qaeda’s governance once again” in Mali, he added, calling him “a major link in northern Mali and in particular in the Timbuktu region” with the GSIM group. aligned with Qaeda.
A former “emir” of al-Qaeda’s Libyan operations, Djouadi fled to Mali in 2019 and settled in the Timbuktu region, helping organize the group and coordinating supplies, funding and logistics, the official said. ‘army.
He added that he was killed by ground forces supported by a Tiger attack helicopter and two drones.
France is set to redeploy some 2,400 troops away from Mali to other countries in the Sahel region facing cross-border jihadist insurgencies, after falling out with the military junta in Bamako.
While the withdrawal is expected to span six months, the military said “operations continue against armed terrorist groups, particularly against key leaders of Al-Qaeda, GSIM and the Islamic State group in the Greater Sahara (ISGS)”.
French forces first intervened in Mali in 2013, but disputes between Paris and Bamako since a coup in 2020 have prompted the military government to turn to other allies like the Russian paramilitary group Wagner.
Even with international allies on the ground, the Malian state has struggled to regain control of the territory since the jihadist insurgency that began in the north of the country in 2012 and has since spread to neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso. .
The fighting has claimed thousands of lives and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.