Located 150 km from Gao, Talataye is a strategic place, at the confluence of the areas of influence of different armed groups.
Jihadists affiliated with the Islamic State organization seized a strategic location in northern Mali on Tuesday 6 September, at the cost of fierce fighting with other armed groups in the region and rival jihadists who have sworn allegiance to Al-Qaeda. , indicated an elected local official, a regional manager and an interlocutor on the spot.
Talataye, about 150 km from Gao, has been the scene of continuous fighting since the start of the Malian conflict in 2012, given its location at the confluence of the areas of influence of several armed groups. No human toll of the fighting was available on Wednesday morning.
The fighting on Tuesday illustrates the desire for territorial extension recently manifested by men affiliated with the Islamic State in the Great Sahara (EIGS), which is increasing operations outside the area already under its control.
The clashes pitted ISGS fighters against an as yet undefined number of actors, given the difficulty of accessing information in this desert region. But rival jihadists from the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM, an al-Qaeda affiliate) were among their opponents, according to AFP sources. It was not possible to clarify the nature of the relationship between the GSIM fighters and other opponents of the EIGS.
The jihadists arrived by motorbike
GSIM is deeply rooted in the Talataye bushes. Olivier Dubois, the French journalist kidnapped in Gao in 2021, had gone there for an interview with the commander of the GSIM of Talataye. Also present are fighters from the pro-government group Mouvement de salut de l’Azawad (MSA) and former rebels from the Coordination des Mouvements de l’Azawad (CMA), who fought the Malian state before signing a peace agreement in 2015. in the area.
“The people of the EIGS arrived this afternoon on motorcycles, the fighting lasted three hours“An MSA fighter who took part in the fighting before retiring and who was reached by satellite phone told AFP on Tuesday evening. ISGS fighterstook Talatayeat sunset, he said.
An elected local official confirmed to AFP that “the town hall of Talataye and the citythey were in the hands of the EIGS on Wednesday morning. Talataye basically consists of an agglomeration of hamlets where thousands of people live. A security official in Gao confirmed the clashes “between jihadist groups“Everyone spoke on condition of anonymity for their safety and for the delicacy of these issues.
The Talataye area, like much of the country, is de facto outside state control. The Malian military said in a statement Tuesday evening that it had conducted a “offensive reconnaissanceby plane on Talataye. The coming to power in Mali since 2020 continues to claim that it has cornered the jihadists on the defensive. “Thanks to the offensive actions carried out, our armed forces have achieved decisive victories against the obscurantist groups. These actions also allowed the state to reaffirm its authority over a large part of the national territory.“Said head of diplomacy Abdoulaye Diop on Tuesday.