French forces claimed to have killed a leader of a militant group Al Qaeda leader, Algerian Abdelmalek Droukdel in the Islamic Maghreb.
According to France’s defense minister Florence Parly, a banned outfit leader, Droukdel was killed on Thursday near the Algerian border, where the group has bases from which it has conducted attacks and abductions of Westerners in the sub-Saharan Sahel zone.
“Many close associates” of Droukdel — who commanded several affiliate militant groups across the lawless region — were also “neutralized”, Florence Parly added.
France also claimed on Friday to have captured a leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS) group, which carries out frequent attacks over Niger’s western borders.
France has over 5,000 troops deployed in its anti-jihadist Barkhane force in the Sahel region.
Mali is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency that erupted in 2012 and which has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives since.
Despite the presence of thousands of French and UN troops, the conflict has engulfed the centre of the country and spread to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.
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