The French military of Operation Barkhane in the Sahel have killed one of their main targets for a year. As announced by the Ministry of Defense in Paris on Tuesday, Soumana Boura was “neutralized” the day before in a coordinated operation with the Nigerian Armed Forces. The jihadist was group leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS) in Niger and, above all, was identified as one of the material authors of the murder, in August last year, of six French aid workers and two Nigerian citizens in the Kouré giraffe reserve, in the Tillabéri region, in the northwest of the African country.
“The French armed forces continue to fight relentlessly against the armed terrorist groups of the Sahel: An ISIS-affiliated EIGS official [Estado Islámico], has been neutralized, “said Defense Minister Florence Parly on social media.
According to Defense, the operation took place on Monday. “After having located him in an EIGS sanctuary area north of the city of Tillabéri, and after having formally identified him, [Boura] it was neutralized by an air strike, “the ministry explained in a statement. “Next, a command was airborne to recognize and search the area of the attack,” adds the official information.
Boura was leading a group of “several dozen active EIGS fighters” in the Gober Gourou and Firo area of western Niger. France had identified him as one of the material perpetrators of the murder of six French cooperators of the French NGO Acted and two Nigerien citizens who accompanied them, in an attack perpetrated on August 9, 2020 in the Kouré nature reserve. According to the Ministry of Defense, Boura was in charge of “filming the execution” of the aid workers and “ensuring their disclosure.”
Boura’s death “makes it possible to fight the expansion of EIGS and prevent it from taking control of some parts of the Three Borders region (Burkina Faso-Niger-Mali),” says Paris. Its “neutralization” comes just a few months after France delivered one of the biggest blows to jihadism in the Sahel by announcing that it had killed EIGS leader Abou Walid al Saharawi, one of Africa’s most wanted terrorists, in August. indicated as the man who gave the order to carry out the attack against the French aid workers. French President Emmanuel Macron hailed this news as a “new great success in the fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel.”
EIGS has been one of Operation Barkhane’s prime targets in recent months. In mid-June, France announced the capture of two other group leaders, Dadi Ould Chaib, alias Abu Dardar, y Sidi Ahmedl Ould Mohamed, alias Khattab al Mauritani, as well as the death of a third high command, Almahmoud ag Baye, alias Ikaray. A month later, France reported the “neutralization” also of the EIGS logistical and financial coordinator and “real head of EIGS in Mali”, Issa al Sahraoui, and of the number two of the jihadist group in charge of the EIGS trials, Abou Abderahmane al Sahraoui.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.