Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi is France’s most wanted figure in the Sahel. The ISIS branch is very active in the border areas of Mali, Burkina Faso and Nigeria. Then who exactly is Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi?
Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi is considered one of the most ruthless terrorists in the Sahel and France’s main enemy in the troubled region of Africa. Gaining a reputation for chopping off the hands of thieves, al-Sahrawi leads an ISIS affiliate that is very active in the central Sahel.
The Sahel has been beset by a brutal jihadist insurgency since Islamist groups took control of northern Mali in 2012. France, a former colonial power, then intervened in Mali in 2013 and beat back the extremists.
Despite the presence of foreign forces, extremist violence has spread to central Mali as well as neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
The so-called Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) has been blamed for a series of bloody attacks in the vast semi-arid region.
Read also: ISIS Leader in Sahara Killed by French Troops
He claimed responsibility for an ambush near the village of Tongo Tongo in Niger in 2017 that claimed the lives of four US special forces and four Nigerian soldiers.
He was called al-Sahrawi after his place of origin in Western Sahara, where he fought on the Polisario Front, which aimed to end Moroccan rule. Thought to be in his forties at the time of his death, al-Sahrawi often wore a black turban and beard in a number of his known photographs.