Over the course of the past several years, numerous high-ranking individuals have been taken captive by terror groups in Mali. Recently, two of them—the Guiré brigade commander, Mamadou Diawara, and the president of the Niono District Court, Soungalo Koné—both kidnapped by the terrorist group The Macina Liberation Front, have reportedly died due to illness while in captivity. Diawara and Koné were abducted in October and November 2017, respectively.
This should serve as a reminder that there are still people, both local and foreign, being held by these extremist groups in Mali. Almost every attempt at tracking these prisoners or having them released has failed due in large part to the fact that these terror groups move freely throughout the Sahel. Some of their prisoners have been held captive for more than six years.
A video surfaced recently featuring Diré gendarmerie Deputy Commander Adama Lassana Diarra, who was abducted between Timbuktu and Diré on April 14, 2018. Given how the attack played out for his comrades, it’s unlikely this man will be freed or even discovered alive.
According to The Sahelien, the Ministry of Security in Mali says they have no information on the fate of the three above-mentioned men.
The Macina Liberation Front operates from the town Nara to the Burkinabe border and is primarily comprised of the Fulani people. It was created in January 2015 by Hamadoun Kouffa, a well-known preacher in the region. He declared the formation of a caliphate in this part of Mali. The Macina Liberation Front is connected to the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (JNIM)—a coalition of Ansar Dine, AQIM in the Sahel, Al-Mourabitoune, and the Macina Liberation Front formed in March 2017.
All of these radical groups take part in kidnapping for ransom as a way to fund their nefarious activities.