They have a time cohabited, sometimes even cooperated. But since the beginning of 2020, the fighters of the two main jihadist nebulae raging in the Sahel have been engaged a bloody struggle for territory and influence. On the one hand, the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM, or JNIM, according to the Arabic acronym), led by the Malian Tuareg Iyad ag Ghali. On the other, the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS), of which Abu al-Bara al-Sahraoui took the lead after the “neutralization”, in 2021, of its leader historical Abou Walid al-Sahraoui.
While the first are the legatees of the jihadist movements which, in 2012, had melted on the Malian north, taking control of part of the territory and the large cities – before being dislodged by the soldiers of the French operation Serval -, the latter adopted the black and white banner of the state