French counter-terrorist forces killed a key Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) leader who was believed to be responsible for the murders of six French aid workers and two guides at a giraffe park in Niger in August 2020. 

The French killed Soumana Boura on December 20 in an airstrike from a drone as Boura was riding his motorcycle. The drone strike was carried out by “Operation Barkhane” by anti-terrorist forces north of Tillabéri, in northwestern Niger. 

The French Defense Ministry released a statement that said that in “close cooperation” with Nigerien authorities, troops from France’s Operation Barkhane killed Boura after they learned of his location in an ISIS sanctuary outside of Tillabéri. His body was recovered after completion of the airstrike and positively identified. 

They characterized the drone strike of Boura as a “major blow” against ISGS. It said it helped “to fight against the expansion of ISGS and stop it taking control of some parts of the three-border region” between Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.