Al-Qaeda Attacks Mali Gold Mine Convoy, Kills 5 Gendarmes

Malian gendarmes and members of anti-terrorist special forces "Forsat" arrive at the entrance of the Kangaba tourist resort in Bamako on June 19, 2017, a day after suspected jihadists stormed the resort, briefly seizing more than 30 hostages and leaving at least two people dead. The assault on the resort …
HABIBOU KOUYATE/AFP via Getty Images

A local affiliate of al-Qaeda ambushed the convoy of an Australian-owned gold mine in Mali on Tuesday, killing five gendarmes guarding the transport and injuring four others, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

A convoy for Morila Gold Mine was attacked by “terrorists” on a road located roughly 115 miles from the national capital of Bamako, the Malian Armed Forces confirmed in a statement issued September 29.

“A local supplier had hired the convoy to deliver equipment to the Morila Gold Mine, which Australian lithium miner Firefinch acquired last year from AngloGold Ashanti and Barrick Gold,” Firefinch’s managing director told Reuters in an email on Wednesday.

“We only have limited details at this early stage but we can confirm the convoy was transporting a supplier’s equipment to Morila,” he said.

The official branch of al-Qaeda in Mali, known as Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM), claimed responsibility for the September 28 attack, according to Menastream. The risk consultancy group monitors jihadist activity across the African Sahel region, which is a hotbed for Islamist terrorism.

JNIM was formed in March 2017 by combining elements of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other African jihadist groups. The organization is spread out across several operational zones throughout northern Mali.

“JNIM claimed responsibility for the attack of 21 February 2018 in Mali, which resulted in the death of two French soldiers,” according to a recent profile of the group by the United Nations (U.N.). At the time, Mali’s president said two French soldiers operating in the country died after their armored vehicle was struck by explosive devices.

“The group also claimed the two simultaneous attacks against the French Embassy and the General Staff of the Burkinabe armed forces in Ouagadougou [Burkina Faso’s capital] on 2 March 2018, and the attack against the Headquarters of the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel in Sevare [a Mali town] on 29 June 2018,” the U.N. recalled.

“The multiplicity of attacks carried out by JNIM threatens the peace process in Mali. Its leader, Iyad ag Ghali, has openly pledged allegiance to Aiman Muhammed Rabi al-Zawahiri, the Al-Qaida leader … and the leader of the Taliban,” to the U.N. noted.

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