Al-Qaeda Appoints New Leader

AQIM has a new leader

Five months after its first leader since 2007 was killed, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has appointed one of its executives as successor to the Algerian Abdelmalek Droukdel.

In a video received by SITE Intelligence – the American agency specialized in the surveillance of jihadist groups and other terror attacks – AQIM announces the appointment of its new leader, the Algerian Abou Oubaïda Youssef al-Annabi, current chief of his “Council of Notables”, which acts as the steering committee of the jihadist group.

According to the American think-tank Counter Extremism Project (CEP), this former member of the GSPC group (Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat or “Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat”), registered on the American blacklist of “international terrorists” since September 2015, is also the leader of the media branch of AQIM and hence appears regularly in the group’s videos.

Following an operation carried by the France forces which are alongside Mali since 2012, the founder and historical leader of AQIM, Abdelmalek Droukdel was killed on June 3. Recently arrived from Algeria in northern Mali, the jihadist leader was accompanied by several of his relatives, executives of the organization he had founded in January 2007.

It’s good to note that AQIM has received allegiance from several jihadist groups still active in the Sahel since 2017 through the JNIM group (Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin) also called “GSIM” (Groupe de Soutien à l’Islam et aux Musulmans).

In the message published on 21/11/2020, AQIM also took a look back on the recent execution of a Swiss missionary (Béatrice Stockly) who was kidnapped since 2016, attributing the cause of her death to an attempt by the “French crusaders” to free her.

This new nomination should be another wakeup call towards the governments and security forces concerned by the AQIM operations (Mali precisely) as it’s of no use to cut a head if the snake has to grow another one faster and even add a new one. It has now been 8 great years that this war against terror has been going on in this area of the country and the death of the group’s leader should’ve been a solid opportunity for all the forces aimed at keeping peace in the region to strike harder.

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