Mali says it confirms death of veteran jihadist leader Koufa

Reuters , Saturday 24 Nov 2018

Malian troops patrol on a pick-up car, three weeks after a military raid dislodged Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghrab (AQIM) from its newly-built base in the Wagoudou forest. - One of Mali's top jihadist leaders Amadou Koufa has died after a raid led by French soldiers in the centre of the troubled country, Malian and French authorities confirmed on November 24, 2018. (Photo: AFP)

Mali's army said on Saturday it had confirmed the death of Amadou Koufa, one of the most prominent jihadist leaders in the country, in a raid by French forces on Thursday night.

"I confirm that Amadou Koufa was killed during the operation," Malian army spokesman Colonel Diarran Kone told Reuters. He declined to elaborate.

France's army had said on Friday that Koufa may have been killed in the operation in the central Mopti region that "put out of action" about 30 Islamist militants.

Koufa, a radical preacher, was one of the top deputies to Iyad Ag Ghali, the leader of Mali's most prominent jihadi group, Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), which has repeatedly attacked soldiers and civilians in Mali and neighbouring Burkina Faso.

Those attacks have shifted Mali's six-year-old Islamist insurgency from the remote desert north closer to its populous south and prompted France and the United States to deploy thousands of troops across West Africa's semi-arid region.

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