ISIS in Mali has taken control of the village of Tidermene in the northeast of the West African country, which led to the isolation of the city of Menaka, the largest city in the country, which confirms the rise of the terrorist organization in the region, as the vast desert areas in West Africa witness massacres targeting civilians. In addition, most of the regions in Mali have come under the control of ISIS.
Since the beginning of this year, ISIS has been trying to expand its influence in the region, launching many attacks that have killed many people and displaced thousands.
The organization seeks to attract many elements to its ranks, and in this regard is targeting the different ethnic and religious communities in the region.
The Menaka region is of great strategic importance because of its vital location on the borders between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. It is also a center for smuggling weapons, drugs, foodstuffs, fuel and gold, and controlling it means controlling most of the transit traffic in the West African region.
Therefore, controlling Menaka gives ISIS large financial supplies, with the possibility of benefiting from the wealth across the border, which supports its ability to finance itself and carry out new attacks.
Mohamed Abdel Haq, a researcher specializing in African affairs, said that there are international efforts to combat ISIS in Mali and the neighboring regions, with France leading a large part of the counterterrorism operations in Mali despite its exit from the region.
Abdel Haq explained in an exclusive statement to the Reference that international efforts include training and equipping local security forces, providing humanitarian and development assistance to improve living conditions in the region, and strengthening security and intelligence cooperation between the concerned countries.
He added that there are other challenges facing international efforts to combat ISIS in Mali, including the geographical nature of the region, which is characterized by deserts, flat areas and borders, which makes it difficult to fully secure.
Abdel Haq noted that domestic political and military challenges, including political and military instability in Mali and the neighboring region, are among the major challenges facing the fight against terrorism.
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