Paris, September 16 (BNA) French President Emmanuel Macron said early Thursday morning that French forces had “neutralised” Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, the leader of ISIS in the Greater Sahara.
“This is another great success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel,” the French president wrote on Twitter, praising “the heroes who died for France in Operation Serval and Barkhane in the Sahel.”
“Their sacrifices were not in vain,” Macron said.
France had recently announced that it would reorganize its military presence in the Sahel region and reduce the number of troops in the region by more than 2,000 in the long term, according to the German news agency (dpa).
The former colonial power is mobilizing up to 5,100 soldiers in the current counter-terror mission, dubbed Barkhane.
A number of armed groups are active in the Sahel states – an area that extends south of the Sahara from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. Some of them swore allegiance to ISIS or the terrorist organization al-Qaeda.
In 2019, the United States offered a reward of up to $5 million for information on Al-Sahrawi, who, according to the State Department, first pledged allegiance to ISIS in May 2015 before ISIS recognized the pledge later that year.
ISIS in the Greater Sahara — which emerged when al-Sahrawi and his followers split from the Al-Mourabitoun splinter group from al-Qaeda — has been designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization under US Immigration and Nationality Act.
Al-Sahrawi has been designated a global terrorist by executive order.