On Friday, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly confirmed that French forces had killed Bah ag Moussa, a military leader of al Qaeda’s North Africa wing, during northeastern Mali operation.
The former Malian army colonel, also known as Bamoussa Diarra, was a right-hand man of Iyad Ag Ghali, the leader of Mali’s most prominent jihadi terrorist group, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), which has repeatedly attacked soldiers and civilians in Mali and neighboring Burkina Faso.
“A historical figure of the jihadist movement in the Sahel, Bah ag Moussa is considered responsible for several attacks against Malian and international forces”, Parly said in a statement.
Moussa, who was on the U.S. terrorism list, was killed on Tuesday after an operation involving ground troops and helicopters and came after a series of operations that have seen French forces kill dozens of Islamist fighters in recent weeks.
“This is a major success in the fight against terrorism,” Parly said.
Former colonial power France has more than 5,100 personnel spread across the region, with a large portion in Mali operating against rising militancy.