In the battles of Gao.. “ISIS” stuns “Al-Nusra” in the struggle for existence in Mali

Battles have once again raged between ISIS and the “Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims”, loyal to Al-Qaeda, in northern Mali, the most recent of which resulted in a major loss for Al-Nusra and the killing of one of its most senior leaders.

According to what was reported by local sources, during a violent attack he carried out “ISIS“At the Al-Nusra camp in the Tin Tafgat region in Gao State, in the north, Amdou Moussa, known as “Elias”, the Emir of the Intelet region of the state, was killed.Al-NusraAnd about 20 others from the same group, on the ninth of March.

The clashes in that battle continued for more than two hours, and also resulted in ISIS seizing a car, 8 motorcycles, and a quantity of weapons and ammunition, while ISIS fighters did not suffer heavy losses like those suffered by Al-Nusra.

ISIS is led in these confrontations by Mustafa Abu Mahmoudou, the organization’s leader in Burkina Faso Neighboring; As he has great influence in the entire border triangle area, which is divided into borders Mali Burkina Faso and Niger.

These clashes between the two terrorist organizations over control of Malian lands come after a long period of cessation of fighting between them. In recent weeks, they have been focusing on targeting the Malian army and the mercenaries of the Russian private armed company “Wagner”, and launching attacks on targets inside… Niger and Burkina Faso to enhance their spread.

Clash objectives

The same local sources say, “Preparations are underway on both sides to continue confrontations in the next few days.”

The purpose of this is explained:

  • ISIS seeks to impose its influence on the Arbanda region (Entillet and Tisseit) in northern Mali, from which Al-Nusra expelled it in July 2023. Therefore, individuals belonging to ISIS arrived in large numbers and on hundreds of motorcycles armed with various weapons.
  • Another local source close to the Al-Nusra group, which is spread across most areas in Arbanda, says that it, in turn, is motivated to defend its areas of influence against the advance of ISIS hordes.

According to security expert, Issa Toure, the recent battle between ISIS and Al-Nusra “is considered a huge loss for the Al-Nusra group, after it lost an important figure with great influence in the country.” Gao State In general, and in the Entillet region in particular, there is no one to benefit from these confrontations Malian army Which is the common enemy of both groups.”

Toure, who is from the city of Gao, considered that these battles over influence “will further aggravate the situation in the region, which is already experiencing a major crisis that threatens the army’s presence there.”

Northern Mali and areas in the center suffer from weak army capacity there. This is a result of the rebellion led by separatist movements in… Azawad Province North, and terrorist organizations exploit weak border control to infiltrate Mali and annex locals to it motivated by religious or material motives.

As a result of disagreements with the French forces that were present on the basis of assisting the army in anti-terrorismThen her departure in 2022, the financial government sought the help of “Wagner“, in the face of terrorists and insurgents.

Who is Elias?

• From the Fulani tribe, and a prominent leader in the Al-Nusra group, he is its emir in the Entillet area, to which ISIS wants to return.

• Commander of the most important military operations against ISIS in the Arbanda region, as well as against the Malian army and Wagner mercenaries between 2022 and 2024.

• He has great influence on the outskirts of Gao up to the border triangle.

Places of control and deployment

• ISIS almost completely controls the state of Mayanka in northern Mali, and is spreading in border areas between Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.

• The Al-Nusra group spreads over vast areas in the Azawad region in the north, all the way to the south of the country, up to the western borders with Mauritania, Senegal and Guinea. It also spreads east and south in Niger and Burkina Faso, and carries out attacks against the armies of these countries.

While ISIS expands its attacks to include civilians and villages alongside government institutions, led by the army and its allies, the Al-Nusra group is focusing on government targets, and carried out events last February 28 when it took control of a military barracks in the Koala region, 150 kilometers from the financial capital. Bamako, killed 30 soldiers, and seized 12 cars and a large amount of weapons and ammunition.

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