France says it has killed senior al Qaeda operative in Mali

French forces have killed Bah ag Moussa, a military leader of al-Qaida’s North African wing, during an operation in northeastern Mali, Defense Minister Florence Parly said on Friday.

The former Malian army chief, also known as Bamoussa Diarra, was a right-wing man of Iyad Ag Ghali, the leader of Mali’s most prominent jihadist group, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM).

The jihadist equipment has repeatedly attacked soldiers and civilians in Mali and neighboring Burkina Faso.

“A historical figure of the jihadist movement in the Sahel, Bah ag Moussa is considered responsible for several attacks on Malian and international forces,” Parly said in a statement.

Moussa, who was on the US terrorism list, was killed on Tuesday after an operation involving ground forces and helicopters and comes after a series of operations that have seen French forces kill dozens of Islamist fighters in recent weeks.

“This is a great success in the fight against terrorism,” Parly said.

Former colonial power France has more than 5,100 personnel spread across the region, with a large number in Mali working against increasing militancy.

( Jowharwith REUTERS)