Top terrorist leader killed in Mali

The Minister for the French armed forces, Florence Parly, announced Friday that French armed forces, with the support of their partners, killed the emir of the Al-Qaida in the lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Abdelmalek Droukdal, and several of his close collaborators, during an operation in northern Mali.

By U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs United States Africa Command Stuttgart, Germany Jun 08, 2020
1 photo: AFRICOM logo news release thumbnail
Photo 1 of 1: AFRICOM logo news release thumbnail
 Download full-resolution image

The Minister for the French armed forces, Florence Parly, announced Friday that French armed forces, with the support of their partners, killed the emir of the al-Qa'ida in the lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Abdelmalek Droukdal, and several of his close collaborators, during an operation in northern Mali. 

U.S. Africa Command also confirmed Droukdal’s death in an independent assessment.   

Droukdal served as the emir of AQIM and was involved in all aspects of the organization to include financing, planning, and the facilitation and execution of terrorist attacks.

“Droukdal was the engineer behind expanding AQIM’s ideology throughout the Sahel and Maghreb, and more recently into western Africa, where  aligned elements have conducted attacks and kidnappings from Nigeria to Cote d’Ivoire,” said Rear Admiral Heidi Berg, U.S. Africa Command director of intelligence. “He was responsible for numerous attacks and the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians.”

As a partner in this French-led mission, and as an example of our continued cooperation and partnership to counter a common threat, U.S. Africa Command provided intelligence and Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance support. 

The operation permanently eliminated the most senior decision-maker of AQIM and the likely architect of the Sahel-based jihadist movement. 

“Droukdal’s leadership and capabilities enabled al-Qa'ida's Mali-based organizations to significantly increase instability in the Sahel,” said Berg.

This result reflects the sustained commitment and effort the French are providing in West Africa, where an international model continues to enhance security and stability efforts. 

“This wasn’t just a win for France and the US or even the nations of the Sahel. It was a win for every nation that opposes terrorism and violence,” said Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, Special Operations Command Africa commander. “The cooperation that led to the elimination of this high-level al-Qa’ida leader shows the value of our partnerships and the return on investment these mutually beneficial relationships bring to U.S. and international security.”

Continued collective pressure on these terrorist networks prevents the further spread of violence, reflects the international model at work, and in this case, eliminated the personal plight of a violent and dangerous terrorist from creating further harm.

U.S. Africa Command provides intelligence, logistics, airlift, and training support in West Africa.