The United States Department has designated the official Al Qaeda affiliate in Mali Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM) as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). The designation will ensure the funding has been cut off as well as blocking US citizens from doing business with it and any affiliated and known associates of the group both in Mali and abroad.
The terror group has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks and kidnappings since its inception in March 2017 as stated in the Statement issued on September 5, 2018. Moreover, in the statement, justifying the reasons for the designation, the State Department said that it is in line with the agenda of squeezing the terror organization’s finances which will hinder its ability to conduct attacks.
JNIM which was created after several jihadist groups merged was endorsed by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and has been responsible for attacks on tourists, security troops in Mali as well as peacekeepers both in Mali and Burkina Faso. JNIM has slowly been increasing its reach and sophistication of the operations and attacks especially those targeting Malian troops.
The designation comes at a timely time when Al Qaeda is being suspected of regrouping and revamping to take over territory that ISIS has been driven out of. AQIM has remained active in Africa despite Al Qaeda central taking a back seat in most parts of the world. The African Maghreb has been home to numerous terror organization in the past decades and as such, the fight against JNIM is very crucial in ridding the countries especially Malia and Burkina Faso of a major cross-border security threat.