On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that French military forces had killed Islamic militant Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, the leader of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara and West Africa.
“It’s another major success in our fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel,” Macron said in a tweet, without disclosing the location of the operation.
Sahrawi was the historic leader of Islamic State in the Sahel region of West Africa and his group targeted U.S. soldiers in a deadly attack in 2017, Macron’s office said.
In August 2020, Sahrawi personally ordered the killing of six French charity workers and their Nigerien driver, it added.
Macron said in July that France would soon begin reshaping its force in the Sahel, where it has been on the front line of the fight against Islamist militants, and would ultimately halve its military presence.
With no apparent end in sight to France’s operations and political turmoil especially in Mali, Paris had grown frustrated.
Born in Laayoune, Western Sahara into a wealthy trading family that fled the city for refugee camps in Algeria, Al-Sahrawi joined the Polisario Front and received military training, but he demobilised amid promises of a United Nations referendum on the status of Western Sahara.