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France captures senior Daesh/ISGS leader in Mali

Oumeya Ould Albakaye's arrest new success for Barkhane force, says Defense Ministry

Shweta Desai   | 15.06.2022
France captures senior Daesh/ISGS leader in Mali FILE PHOTO

PARIS

As France began the withdrawal of its forces from Mali, the French military announced the arrest of a senior Daesh/ISGS leader on Wednesday.

Oumeya Ould Albakaye, a senior leader of the Daesh/ISGS was captured during an operation between June 11-12 involving air and ground units of the Barkhane force, according to a statement by the Defense Ministry.

The military also seized several cell phones, weapons and other resources.

Albakaye’s capture is a new success for the Barkhane force as it has weakened the Daesh/ISGS command in the three border areas, the statement said.

Albakaye was the leader of EIGS straddling the Mali-Burkina Faso border region, in the north. He organized several attacks against various military bases and roads used by the Barkhane force using improvised explosive devices. He also carried out operations targeting the local Malian and Burkinabe populations.

Albakaye was reportedly tipped to succeed former ISGS leader Adnan Abou Walid Al-Sahrawi, who was killed by the French Barkhane forces in August 2021.

France is set to end the flagship anti-terrorism Operation Barkhane and close the military bases in Mali. The relationship between Bamako and Paris began to deteriorate after the coup in 2021 and worsened amid local opposition to the French military presence.

In May, the Malian transitional authorities revoked the defense cooperation treaty agreement governing the status of French forces and ordered the French troops as well as the European forces under Takuba Task Force to leave the country.

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