The Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), a Sahelian jihadist alliance affiliated with Al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on Thursday that injured six French soldiers on January 8 in Mali, in a statement released by its platform. – Al-Zallaqa propaganda form. The GSIM (or Jnim according to the Arabic acronym), the main jihadist alliance in the Sahel, notably invokes the presumed death of civilians in a recent air strike and the continuation of the French military presence in the sub-region.
A fighter from the group “detonated his vehicle stuffed with explosives against a convoy of French occupying forces and Malian apostates in Arbanda, near the border with Burkina Faso,” said GSIM.
“We want to assert to the French government and people that no matter how strong the occupying power is, it will not be able to defeat the will of the people to live in freedom. If you do not withdraw, you will witness new and even more violent attacks. “, he added.
The French army announced on January 8 that six soldiers of its anti-jihadist force Barkhane had been wounded the same day in Mali by a suicide vehicle.
This is the third attack since the end of December against the French soldiers, who have already deplored five deaths during the period, according to the staff of the French army.
In 2020, France hired 600 additional troops in the Sahel, bringing its strength to around 5,100. It is currently reviewing the evolution of this commitment.
At the end of November, the commander of Barkhane, Marc Conruyt, had indicated before the French deputies the GSIM as the “most dangerous enemy” in the Sahel. A year earlier, it was the Islamic State group in the greater Sahara (EIGS) which had been designated as enemy number one in the region.