Thursday, March 7, 2024

Africa File, March 7, 2024: JNIM Strengthening Near Bamako; Kremlin and Nigeria Discuss Partnership

Key Takeaways:

  • Mali. Al Qaeda–affiliated militants recently conducted the first suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) attack in southern Mali since 2022, likely to support the group’s efforts to isolate a district capital nearly 175 miles north of the Malian capital. Al Qaeda’s Sahelian affiliate has rapidly strengthened in the region surrounding Bamako since the beginning of 2022 and will likely increase the rate and sophistication of its attacks farther south and amplify pressure around the Malian capital in the coming years.
  • Nigeria. The Nigerian and Russian foreign ministers met in Moscow on February 6 and outlined areas for increased bilateral cooperation and their states’ shared interests on issues such as the Israel-Hamas war. Nigeria likely will seek to expand its arms purchases from Russia during the coming years, strengthening this key area of preexisting cooperation. Nigeria’s recent criticism of Western military aid is similar to the grievances of their Burkinabe, Malian, and Nigerien neighbors, who have downgraded ties with the West in favor of Russia since 2021.


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