“The United States welcomes the announcement by our partner and ally, France, that its troops killed Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi,” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
“As the leader of the IS in the Greater Sahara, Walid Al-Sahrawi bears responsibility for the violence that has claimed the lives of countless civilians and military personnel in the Sahel, including the October 4, 2017 attack on a joint U.S.-Nigerien patrol in the Tongo Tongo region of Niger that resulted in the deaths of four U.S. soldiers and four Nigerien soldiers,” Price said.
Following the Tongo Tongo attack, Abu Walid al-Sahrawi became one of the most wanted jihadists on the planet, with a $5 million tag-price on his head.
Abu Walid al-Sahrawi’s radicalization started in the Polisario-controlled camps of Tindouf in Algeria, a breeding ground for extremism amid the decay of the separatist movement, and the absence of any prospects for its youth.
He left the Tindouf camps in 2010 for Mali with some of his comrades to join the Katiba Tarik Ibn Zyad linked to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqmi). A year later, he founded the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao) in the Gao region. In May 2015, he pledged allegiance to Daech and created the ISGS terror group.