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ICC Note: Terrorist organizations have found a safe haven in Western Africa’s Sahel Region. This is despite the international military presence already in the area that is focusing on counter terrorism. In March of 2017, four terror groups combined and pledged their support to al-Qaeda, under the name of the Group for the Defense of Islam and the Muslims.

04/23/2018 Mali (North Africa Post) – Weak states, porous borders and trafficking activities turned the Sahel into a safe haven for terrorist groups. The terrorist attack on April 14 in Timbuktu by an Al Qaeda offshoot, the Group for the Defense of Islam and the Muslims, came to represent the capacity of the terrorist group to generate and carry out bloody attacks against heavily fortified facilities.

The attack targeted MINUSMA and Operation Barkhane, leaving a peacekeeper from Burkina Faso dead and several others wounded, including seven French soldiers and two Malian civilians.

“This attack was prepared long ago by the terrorists. Its timing shows that it was perpetrated in retaliation for the actions led by Barkhane in northern Mali and the operations completed recently north of Timbuktu ” said three-star general Bruno Guilbert who commands Barkhane since July 2017 in an interview with French Magazine l’Express.

Barkhane, France’s counter-terrorism force in Africa, has been deployed to fight terrorists in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania.

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For interviews with Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]