In Summary
  • Mali-born preacher Amadou Koufa is blamed for multiple attacks on Western interests in the Sahel.
  • He has won a following among the young with fiery sermons urging a hard-line form of Islam.
  • Amadou Koufa's blacklisting comes two days after France said it had killed another top JNIM leader, Ali Maychou.

Washington

The United States on Thursday designated Mali-born preacher Amadou Koufa as a terrorist, putting a new focus on stopping the militant blamed for multiple attacks on Western interests in the Sahel.

Koufa -- a member of the Fulani, a long-impoverished herding community -- has won a following among the young with fiery sermons urging a hard-line form of Islam that have been disseminated widely by mobile app WhatsApp.

He is a senior figure in the JNIM, or Group to Support Islam and Muslims, which has sworn allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

The State Department said the alliance, itself designated as terrorist last year, is to blame for the deaths of more than 500 civilians since 2017.

TARGETTING FOREIGNERS

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