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RIVM number 2 shot down by French forces in northern Mali

(B2) The French forces of the French Operation Barkhane “neutralized” in the afternoon of Thursday (February 21) “one of the main terrorist leaders in the Timbuktu region”, Yahia Abou Hamman, member of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

(credit: DICOD / EMA – Oper Barkhane)

Three suspect vehicles and an identified leader

According to the official account, this operation was “ triggered following the detection of three vehicles with suspicious behavior progressing north of Timbuktu. He was then " decided to intercept ". More precisely, according to another official account, Yahia Abou Hamman, number two of the RVIM (Rally for the Victory of Islam and Muslims) and head of the Emirate of Timbuktu was " identified within a group of vehicles advancing north of Timbuktu ". The operation was particularly complex, combining motorized land and helicopter assets with a Reaper drone in support.

Eleven terrorists killed

When the commandos approached, the occupants of the vehicles opened fire before being neutralized by the supporting helicopters ". On balance: eleven terrorists put out of action ”, including Yahia Abou Hamman and his two principal assistants who were killed. Pick-ups and weapons were also seized.

A blow for the terrorist group

« This spectacular action materializes years of research. This is a very hard blow for the terrorist groups operating in the Sahel greeted the French Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly in a communicated. " The RVIM will have lost three of its main leaders in the space of a year. All were close aides to Iyad Ag Ghaly. The disappearance of a prominent leader makes it possible to dismantle the networks and stem the dynamics of terrorism in the region. Without a leader, there is no more direction or coordination: the fighters are helpless. »

Congratulations from CEMA

« This audacious operation combines methodical and persevering work with the ability to intervene effectively within very short deadlines. » specifies General François Lecointre, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces (CEMA). " EIt testifies to the high level of expertise acquired by the French military in the conduct of complex operations. »


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).