Ali Maychou

Ali Maychou was a U.S.-and U.N.-designated radical imam and senior leader in Jama’at Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM), an al-Qaeda affiliated group in Mali. A Moroccan, Maychou joined al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in 2012 before co-founding JNIM with Iyad Ag Ghaly and masterminding its expansion in the Sahel in March of 2017.“In Central Mali, Civilian Populations Are Caught Between Terrorism and Counterterrorism,” Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’Homme, November 2018, https://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/fidh_centre-of-mali_population-sized-between-terrorism-and-counter-terrorism_727_en_november2018.pdf. Maychou along with his brother, Youssef Maychou, led a network that recruited and sent Moroccan fighters to northern Mali via Libya.“Ali Maychou,” United Nations Security Council, August 14, 2019, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/content/ali-maychou. It was reported that Maychou was killed by French forces in an operation in Mali on October 9, 2019.“France claims death of top jihadist leader in Mali,” France 24, November 5, 2019, https://www.france24.com/en/20191105-france-claims-death-of-top-jihadist-leader-in-mali.

In May 2012, Ali Maychou joined the ranks of al-Mourabitoun, headed by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, and became a member of its religious police. In October 2012, he went to Timbuktu, at that time under the control of AQIM. He provided theological training to around 60 fighters, who were placed under the orders of Djamel Akkacha (a.k.a. Yahia Abou el Hammam).“Ali Maychou,” United Nations Security Council, August 14, 2019, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/content/ali-maychou.

After Operation Serval in 2014—a French military offensive to rout armed rebels and Islamist militants from Mali’s northern territories“France in Mali: A year of hunting jihadists in West Africa,” France 24, Janaury 11, 2014, https://www.france24.com/en/20140111-france-mali-military-intervention-operation-serval-anniversary-timeline.—Maychou took refuge in Ajdabiya, where he worked to establish contacts between AQIM and Libyan radical groups.“Ali Maychou,” United Nations Security Council, August 14, 2019, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/content/ali-maychou. Maychou then served as the main media personality of AQIM in the Sahel. He made multiple statements, published by Al-Andalus, the media agency of AQIM. On January 20, 2017, Ali Maychou claimed, in an audio message, responsibility for the attack perpetrated on January 18, 2017 inside the camp of the MOC (Mécanisme Opérationnel de Coordination) in Gao which led to the death of over 50 people.“Al-Qaeda affiliate claims Mali car bomb attack in Gao,” BBC News, January 18, 2017, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-38663693. The camp hosts elements of the Malian Armed Forces and members of the Platform and Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) who take part in mixed patrols, as put forward by the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali.“Ali Maychou,” United Nations Security Council, August 14, 2019, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/content/ali-maychou.

On March 1, 2017, Maychou appeared alongside Ag Ghaly, Yahya Abou Al Hamem of AQIM, Abu Hassan al-Ansari of Al-Mourabitoune, and Amadou Kouffa of the Macina Liberation Front (FLM), to announce the merger of their jihadist groups into a single movement, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam Wal-Mouslimin (JNIM).“In Central Mali, Civilian Populations Are Caught Between Terrorism and Counterterrorism,” Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’Homme, November 2018, https://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/fidh_centre-of-mali_population-sized-between-terrorism-and-counter-terrorism_727_en_november2018.pdf.

On July 16, 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), in concert with the Department of State, designated Bah Ag Moussa as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.“Terrorist Designation of Ali Maychou,” U.S. Department of State, July 16, 2019, https://www.state.gov/terrorist-designation-of-ali-maychou/. On August 14, 2019, the United Nations ISIL (Da’esh) and al Qaeda Sanctions Committee imposed sanctions against Bah Ag Moussa pursuant to paragraphs 2 and 4 of resolution 2368 (2017) as being associated with ISIL or Al-Qaida and otherwise supporting the groups’ acts or activities.“Ali Maychou,” United Nations Security Council, August 14, 2019, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/content/ali-maychou.

On November 5, 2019, Florence Parly, France’s Minister for the Armed Forces, announced that French forces killed Ali Maychou in an operation inside Mali in early October. No other details are reported regarding the specifics of Maychou’s death.“France claims death of top jihadist leader in Mali,” France 24, November 5, 2019, https://www.france24.com/en/20191105-france-claims-death-of-top-jihadist-leader-in-mali.

 
United States

On July 16, 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), in concert with the Department of State, designates Ali Maychou as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.“Terrorist Designation of Ali Maychou,” U.S. Department of State, July 16, 2019, https://www.state.gov/terrorist-designation-of-ali-maychou/.

United Nations

On August 14, 2019, the ISIL (Da’esh) and al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the U.N. Security Council imposes sanctions against Ali Maychou pursuant to paragraphs 2 and 4 of resolution 2368 (2017) as being associated with ISIL or Al-Qaida and otherwise supporting the groups’ acts or activities.“Ali Maychou,” United Nations Security Council, August 14, 2019, https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/content/ali-maychou.

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