France kills ISIS leader Soumana Boura in Niger

Terrorist was wanted in connection with killing of French aid workers

The French military has been fighting extremists in the sub-Sahara region since 2013. AFP
Powered by automated translation

A regional ISIS leader wanted in connection with the killing of French aid workers has been killed in Niger, France said.

The French army said it “neutralised” Soumana Boura in an operation carried out with Nigerien co-operation.

Boura was wanted in connection with the killing of seven aid workers, mostly French citizens, and a guide in a Niger giraffe park in August 2020.

Operatives from France’s anti-insurgent force Operation Barkhane killed Boura in an air strike, the Defence Ministry in Paris said. He had been found in a sanctuary north of the town of Tillaberi.

France claims Boura was among the perpetrators of the August 9, 2020 attack in Koure Park, Niger. The victims had been on a day of sightseeing when they were attacked just before noon.

An ambulance sent by the French military stationed in Niger found the bodies and a burnt-out vehicle.

In September France confirmed the death of another Niger suspect, Adnan Abu Walid Al Sahrawi.

The French military has been fighting extremists in the sub-Sahara region, where it was once the colonial power, after intervening in northern Mali in 2013.

Mr Macron in June announced a major scale-back in France's anti-militant Barkhane force in the sub-Sahara to refocus on counter-terrorism operations and supporting local forces.

The UN says armed extremist groups such as ISIS, Boko Haram and Al Shabab thrive in communities stricken by drought and other harsh conditions, where joblessness and despair leave people vulnerable to hardliners.

ISIS exploited grievances over water shortages and took control of supplies to impose the group’s hard-line views on communities across Iraq and Syria, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said.

Updated: December 22, 2021, 12:39 AM