Country Report on Terrorism 2019 - Chapter 5 - Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM)

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 an 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 its formation 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.  JNIM’s second in command, Ali Maychou, was killed in October 2019.

Activities:  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 June 2018, JNIM claimed responsibility for a suicide attack against an African Coalition base in Mali that killed at least six people.  In July 2018, JNIM claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Gao, Mali, which targeted a French military patrol and killed several 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.

In January 2019, JNIM claimed responsibility for an attack against a UN base in Northern Mali, killing 10 Chadian peacekeepers and wounding 25 others.  In April, JNIM claimed responsibility for an assault on a Malian military base, killing 11 soldiers.  In September, JNIM detonated a landmine under a passenger bus in central Mali, killing 14 civilians and injuring another 24.

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

Location/Area of Operation:  Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger

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.