Weekly News Roundup: Jihadist sanctuary in Mali, Somali arms embargo, and Malaysian vigilance

West Africa

Mali: French and Chadian forces pushed deeper into the heart of enemy territory in Mali—the remote Adrar des Ifoghas mountains. Here they uncovered a considerable weapons cache (in the Ametetai valley), killed a handful of militants, and captured a French national who was fighting with the jihadists. Three French soldiers and 29 Chadians have been killed to date in the Adrar operation. (For more on this operation, see my latest blog post here.)

The New York Review of Books has an interesting feature on the Malian jihadists here. (Note: the piece noticeable downplays attention to MUJAO, despite the fact the group has demonstrated it is perhaps the most capable of the three jihadist organizations operating in Mali.)

Finally, distinguished analysts Chester Crocker and Ellen Laipson have a good, albeit pessimistic, assessment here of the political challenges facing the Sahel.

Nigeria: Ansaru claimed it killed the seven foreign hostages it had captured at a construction firm last month in northern Nigeria. (The status of the seven French tourists captured in Cameroon is still unknown.)

East Africa

Somalia: The UN Security Council voted to suspend a long-standing arms embargo on Somalia for one year. The hope is that countries may now provide weapons and other equipment to the newly-elected Somali government to continue fighting al-Shabaab.

Southeast Asia

Malaysia: The Malaysian government rejected a ceasefire proposed by fighters on the island of Borneo claiming to constitute the Royal Army of the Sultanate of Sulu. It appears Kuala Lumpur prefers a military solution to a negotiated one. (For more, see Will’s latest post here.)

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