This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in French. (November 2017) Click [show] for important translation instructions. View a machine-translated version of the French article. Machine translation like DeepL or Google Translate is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia. Consider adding a topic to this template: there are already 4,450 articles in the main category, and specifying|topic= will aid in categorization. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation. A model attribution edit summary is Content in this edit is translated from the existing French Wikipedia article at [[:fr:Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi]]; see its history for attribution. You should also add the template ((Translated|fr|Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi)) to the talk page. For more guidance, see Wikipedia:Translation.

Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi
Image of Abu Walid taken from U.S. State Department
Birth nameLehbib Ould Ali Ould Said Ould Yumani
Born(1973-02-16)16 February 1973[1]
Laayoune, Spanish Sahara
Died17 August 2021(2021-08-17) (aged 48)
Dangalous Forest, Mali
Allegiance Polisario Front (early 1990s-2000s)
MUJAO (2011–2013)
Al-Mourabitoun (2013–2015)
Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (2015–2021)

Lehbib Ould Ali Ould Said Ould Yumani, known as Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi (16 February 1973 – 17 August 2021), was a Sahrawi Islamic terrorist and leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.


Al-Sahrawi was born in Laayoune, Western Sahara into a wealthy trading family that fled the city for refugee camps in Algeria.[2][3] He joined the Polisario Front and received military training, but he demobilised amid promises of a United Nations referendum on the status of Western Sahara.[3]

He studied social sciences at the Mentouri University of Constantine, from which he graduated in 1997. A year later he joined the Sahrawi Youth Union. In 2004, said to be suffering from health problems and depression, he turned to Islam after contact with students from the Ibn Abbas Institute in Nouakchott.[4]

Around November 2010, he left Tindouf in Algeria for northern Mali and joined the Katiba Tarik ibn Zayd, a unit of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

In October 2011, he was part of the group that founded the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, alongside the Malian Ahmed al-Tilemsi and Sultan Ould Bady, as well as the Mauritanian Hamada Ould Mohamed Kheirou. While part of MUJWA/MUJAO, he was one of its most senior leaders, serving on its Shura council and communicating with international media as MUJWA's spokesman.

By 2013, he was calling himself the leader of an organisation named the Mujahideen Shura Council in Gao, Mali. After MUJAO merged with Mokhtar Belmokhtar's Al-Mulathameen group in August 2013 to form Al-Mourabitoun, he was an important leader in Al-Murabitoun, later becoming its overall head.[5]

In March 2012, he was leading a group in control of the town of Askia.[6]

On 13 May 2015, Abu Walid declared his allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and formed the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara. Not all of Al-Mourabitoun accepted the move, with Mokhtar Belmokhtar denying that al-Murabitoun had pledged to Baghdadi, causing a split in the group. More than a year and a half later, the allegiance was publicly accepted by ISIS's Amaq News Agency.[7]

In May 2016, he was reported to have issued threats against the government of Morocco.[8]

In June 2017, al-Sahrawi accused the Imghad and Idaksahak communities of defending Niger and France and threatened retaliation against them.[9] In October 2017, he led the Tongo Tongo ambush against Nigerien and United States soldiers outside the village of Tongo Tongo, Niger.[10]

On 4 October 2019, the United States offered a $5 million reward under the Rewards for Justice program for information on his whereabouts.[11][12]

Al-Sahrawi was killed by French forces in the Sahel on 17 August 2021. After captured IS-GS members provided information on al-Sahrawi's likely hiding places, the assassination was conducted using a drone in the Dangalous Forest, located near Indelimane village in northern Mali and near the border with Niger, according to the Chief of the Defence Staff Thierry Burkhard. Burkhard added that al-Sahrawi was travelling on a motorcycle with another person when he was killed. A unit comprising 20 soldiers of the French Army's special forces was then sent to confirm the identities of those killed and found that the strike had killed ten IS-GS members. The announcement was delayed while Al-Sahrawi's identity was confirmed.[13][14][15][16] French President Emmanuel Macron announced his death on 15 September.[17] ISIS confirmed al-Sahrawi's death in October 2021.[18]

Personal life

Al-Sahrawi was said to have married a Fulani woman, in order to better integrate with cross-border communities.[19]


  1. ^ "Le Comité de sanctions contre l'EIIL (Daech) et Al-Qaida ajoute une entrée sur la Liste de sanctions contre l'EIIL (Daech) et Al-Qaida | Couverture des réunions & communiqués de presse". Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  2. ^ Dilanian, Ken; Kube, Courtney; Bishop, Mac William (24 October 2017). "U.S. Soldiers in Niger Were Pursuing ISIS Recruiter When Ambushed". NBC News. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b Guichaoua, Yvan; Lebovich, Andrew (2 November 2017). "America's options in Niger: join forces to reduce tensions, or fan the flames". The Conversation. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Tracking Abu Walid al-Sahraoui, West Africa's most wanted jihadist". The Africa Report. 12 February 2020.
  5. ^ "May 2015 Briefs". Jamestown. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  6. ^ Roger, Benjamin (12 February 2020). "Tracking Abu Walid al-Sahraoui, West Africa's most wanted jihadist". The Africa Report. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  7. ^ "Islamic State recognizes oath of allegiance from jihadists in Mali | FDD's Long War Journal". 31 October 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Report: Head of the Islamic State's Sahara branch threatens Morocco | FDD's Long War Journal". Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Jihadist leader Al-Sahraoui accuses and threatens two communities in Mali" (in French). RFI. 28 June 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  10. ^ Ahmed, Baba; Larson, Krista (19 October 2017). "Jihadist ambush on US forces shows new danger in Sahel region". Bamako: SFGate. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi". Rewards for Justice. Archived from the original on 22 September 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  12. ^ "US offers reward for Islamic State leader linked to Niger ambush". Yahoo! News. 4 October 2019.
  13. ^ Charlton, Angela; Ahmed, Baba; Larson, Krista; Petesch, Carley; Mednick, Sam (16 September 2021). "France calls killing of Islamic State leader big victory". Associated Press. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  14. ^ Benhamou, Laurence; Benoit, Daphne (16 September 2021). "French forces kill Islamic State's boss in Sahel". Agence France-Presse. Yahoo! News. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  15. ^ "Macron says French forces killed Islamic State leader in Sahara". Reuters. 15 September 2021. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  16. ^ Ataman, Joseph; Vandoorne, Saskya (16 September 2021). "French President claims targeted killing of ISIS chief in Sahara". CNN. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  17. ^ "French Forces Kill an ISIS Leader in Sahara, Macron Says". The New York Times. 16 September 2021. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  18. ^ "Analysis: Islamic State confirms Sahelian leader's death, criticizes al Qaeda | FDD's Long War Journal". 18 October 2021.
  19. ^ Zenn, Jacob (3 December 2020). "Islamic State in Greater Sahara Sets Sights on Burkina Faso". Terrorism Monitor. Jamestown Foundation. Retrieved 15 September 2021.