A terrifying report, or to be more precise, very dangerous, was published by a famous blog called “Teneri News” in Mali. This report was written by a specialized press team about the expansion of the terrorist organization “ISIS” in that African country.
The report, re-published by Sky News Arabia, confirmed that the extremist organization has become a major player in the region, and began to impose its agenda and subjugate its opponents after it had already controlled large areas in northern Mali, and after its massive invasion of most of the out-of-power areas in Burkina Faso.
The report also confirmed that ISIS Sahel fighters were deployed in the border areas between Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. The organization is also active intensively in Burkina Faso, in which hundreds of soldiers and thousands of civilians have been killed.
The most dangerous evidence is what Mali did in what is described as a deal to release ISIS leaders at the same time when the government called for 12,000 United Nations peacekeepers to leave, after 10 years of presence to fight Islamic terrorist groups, including ISIS.
Of course, the release of ISIS leaders, regardless of its terms, is a major political victory for ISIS, which will be keen to use this achievement to expand its recruitment efforts.
Currently, large groups of ISIS control the coast in most of the districts of Menka State, especially in the areas of “Tamelt”, “Inchananen”, “Adarnbukar”, “Enker” and others. The group expanded until it reached the “Intadayne” area, which is 207 km from the Algerian border, on 25 April 2023.
For example, on the control of ISIS over the region, on June 27, ISIS attacked the village of “Buya” and killed 13 people, due to the killing of a terrorist in the region, and ISIS accuses the residents of that region of complicity with the Malian army. More than that, the latest published information confirmed that the organization issued a warning to the residents of the Boya region to leave it towards “Gawa” or “Ansingo” in the north.
ISIS is spreading heavily in several areas in Ansingo district, including Boya, Jabro, Lahwi, Tissi and other areas of Azawad. Security observers and activists in Azawad confirmed that the organization considers the state of “Menica” and its surroundings as its own sphere of influence. This is after the organization subdued the leaders of its main tribes, to the point of forcing some of them to declare their allegiance and affiliation to it, and even fund its operations. In other words, the organization’s strategy has become clear on the ground through forced displacement, slaughter and seizure of funds, in exchange for the complete inability of the tribal leaders that have long controlled the region.
It is not surprising what happens in this type of context because the security situation is critical, as ISIS in the Greater Sahara is now a major player in the region. No one could actually contain it. This is where the escalation of ISIS and other jihadist groups leads to internal destabilization at the political, social, economic and institutional levels.
The overthrow of the UN peacekeepers and the agreement to release ISIS leaders in this context represent an admission of loss by the Malian government and efforts to reintegrate the Islamists into the social and political fabric by making these concessions. This also fuels anti-Western sentiment and a post-colonial mentality. This is in addition to the obvious failures of the French, who were the most important figure in that equation and others over time, to achieve decisive gains against the Islamists or to put an end to the spread of extremist ideologies.
Dr. Hatem Sadek: Professor at Helwan University