On June 16, the French military announced that it had captured a “high-ranking” commander of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (IS-GS).
In a statement, the military said that the terrorist, Dadi Ould Chouaib was captured on June 11 in the “tri-border” region between Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. The region is known to be infested with terrorists from different groups.
Chouaib, known by his nom de guerre “Abou Dardar,” was located during a joint helicopter patrol between troops from Operation Barkhane -the codename of French military intervention in the Sahel region of West Africa- and Nigerien forces.
The French military said that Chouaib was carrying “an automatic weapon, a night vision telescope, a combat vest, a telephone and a radio”, but surrendered without resistance.
Before joining IS-GS, Chouaib fought in the ranks of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, MUJAO. In 2014, he was captured by French troops and handed over to Malian authorities.
In October 2020, he was one of around 200 terrorists released in exchange for four hostages, French aid worker Sophie Pétronin, Malian opposition leader Soumaila Cisse and two Italian citizens, a Catholic priest named Father Pierluigi Maccalli and Nicola Chiacchio.
Last week, a senior commander of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb responsible for the abduction and murder of two French journalists in 2013 was eliminated by French troops during an operation in Mali.
These developments in the Sahel region came amid preparations to end Operation Barkhane. President Emmanuel Macron said that French troops will continue to operate in the region, however only as part of broader international efforts.
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