Malian special forces have arrested a top commander of the Ansar Dine jihadist group responsible for several attacks in the northern parts of the country.
According to an army spokesman, security forces arrested Ansar Dine regional commander Mahmoud Barry, also known as “Abou Yehiya,” as he was traveling near a government military base that came under attack last week on Tuesday.
“Today, at around 4:00 pm (1600 GMT) our special forces captured Mahmoud Barry, alias Abou Yehiya,” one of the most senior figures in the group’s branch operating in central Mali, an intelligence officer told AFP.
The Islamist militant group had claimed responsibility for an attack on an army base in central Mali on Tuesday that killed at least 12 soldiers, according to a social media posting monitored by the SITE Intelligence Group.
The group has conducted several attacks in the country and has further seized the desert north alongside al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
The group has also reiterated threats against France and the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country.
French troops, which ousted Islamist militants from northern towns in 2013, are still fighting them in north Mali. The UN sent peacekeepers to support the country’s political processes and carry out a number of security-related tasks.