Country Report on Terrorism 2018 - Chapter 5 - Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin

Aka Jamaat Nosrat al-Islam wal-Mouslimin; Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims; Group to Support Islam and Muslims; GSIM; GNIM; Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimeen.

Description: Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) was designated as a FTO on September 6, 2018. JNIM has described itself as al-Qa’ida’s official branch in Mali and has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks and kidnappings since it was formed in March 2017. In 2017, the Sahara Branch of al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Murabitoun, Ansar al-Dine, and the Macina Liberation Front came together to form JNIM. JNIM is led by Iyad ag Ghali.

Activities: JNIM has continued to commit numerous attacks against civilian and military targets as well as kidnappings. In June 2017, JNIM carried out an attack at a resort frequented by Westerners outside of Bamako, Mali, and was responsible for the large-scale coordinated attacks in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on March 2, 2018.

In 2018, JNIM claimed responsibility for several attacks including a June suicide attack against an African Coalition base in Mali that killed at least six people. In July, JNIM claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Gao, Mali, which targeted a French military patrol that killed civilians. In November 2018, JNIM claimed responsibility for the detonation of a truck bomb in a residential complex in Gao, killing three and injuring 30.

Strength: JNIM is estimated to have between 1,000 and 2,000 fighters.

Location/Area of Operation: The group is located in Mali.

Funding and External Aid: JNIM receives funding through kidnapping-for-ransom and extortion, and from smugglers and traffickers who pay a tax in exchange for permission and safe transit through JNIM-controlled trafficking routes in Mali.