Islamic State (ISIS) Weekly Publishes 'Exclusive' Report Alleging Dozens Of Casualties Among Malian Soldiers, Wagner Group Personnel In Double Attack In Menaka

December 8, 2023

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Issue 420 of Islamic State (ISIS) weekly magazine Al-Naba', which was published on December 7, 2023, contains an "exclusive" report detailing a December 3 double attack by the Islamic State Sahel Province in Mali. The attacks targeted military camps hosting Malian troops and operatives of the Russian Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) in eastern Mali. Al-Naba' also released exclusive photos of the attacks and the execution of Malian soldiers.

Response To Army-Wagner Killing Of Nomads In Menaka

The article states that on December 3, 2023, ISIS operatives in Mali carried out two concurrent attacks against two camps in the rural commune of Ansongo, in eastern Mali's Gao region, killing and wounding dozens of Malian soldiers and Wagner Group operatives.

Citing an "exclusive" source, Al-Naba' reported that the attacks resulted in the deaths of dozens of soldiers and Wagner Group personnel. Three Malian soldiers who had been taken captive several months earlier in an ambush near Menaka, were executed.

According to the same source, the ISIS attacks came in response to a series of crimes committed in November by Malian soldiers and Wagner Group personnel against Muslims in the Menaka region, following several raids targeting nomad concentrations in the towns and villages of Andéramboukane, Ti-n-Fadimata, and Ankadiouane, killing several under the pretex of being ISIS members.

Caliphate soldiers seize control of the Malian army and members of the Wagner militia in southern Ansongo, near the border with Niger.

Double-Attack, Dozens of Casualties, And A Large Assortment Of "Spoils"

On December 3, to avenge the nomads killed by Malian soldiers and Wagner Group personnel, ISIS operatives, armed with a variety of weapons, attacked a military base in Menaka, killing and wounding several people, blowing up a telecommunications tower, and seizing control of several gates to the base.

The report continued: "The objective behind the attack was to distract the enemy's focus away from the mujahideen's main target, which they planned to attack half an hour after the first attack. Per the attack plan, the soldiers of the caliphate began their second attack against a joint military camp of the Malian soldiers and Wagner Group personnel located in the village of Labbezenga, southwestern the town of Ansongo, near the border with Niger."

According to the report, the attack resulted in the killing or wounding of 30 enemy fighters. After the remaining personnel "fled" the site, according to the report, ISIS operatives seized three vehicles equipped with heavy machine guns as well as a large assortment of weapons and ammunition, before setting the site and ten vehicles on fire.

Executing three Malian soldiers held captive in the village of Essailal, near Menaka.

Weekly Infographic

According to an infographic detailing ISIS operations between December 1 and 6, 2023, as outlined in Issue 420 of the weekly newsletter, Al-Naba', ISIS carried out 24 operations in the first six days of December. Fighters killed or wounded 40 people in the Sahel region alone. There were a total of 132 casualties from the attacks.


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