Interview of the leader of Al-Qaeda with France 24: Has the French press become the spokesperson for terrorism?

Since the deterioration of relations between France and Mali, which led to the withdrawal of French forces from Malian territory last year, terrorist movements in the country and in the Sahel region have received unprecedented media coverage from of the French press.

Indeed, on March 6, 2023, Wassim Nasr, the journalist specializing in jihadist movements for the French television channel « France24 », conducted an interview with the Algerian Islamist, Abu Obeida Youssef al-Aanabi, the current head of ‘Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

During this interview, the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) officially confirmed that his group held French journalist Olivier Dubois, kidnapped in Mali in 2021, and discussed the role of jihadism in the Sahel.

This is not the first time that France’s media and economic involvement in supporting terrorism has become a reality. Recently, the French press in collaboration with accomplices of the militants constantly broadcast information releases, and armed group movements in an exclusive and professional manner.

However, new evidence of French involvement in terrorist organizations was uncovered by the Malian Armed Forces (FAMA) after the arrest of an imam in Ansongo circle.

The imam who has served the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara since 2017 confessed during his interrogation to have continued to educate children in a detachment of terrorists as part of a program funded by France.

The purpose of the coverage of terrorist movements by the French press is to threaten the security stability of the country and to sow fear around the civilian populations in order to put pressure on the transitional government led by Assimi Goïta.

Recall that the breakdown of relations between Mali and France began at the end of 2021 after French President Emmanuel Macron announced the departure of French troops from the country before even discussing this decision with Malian officials.

This decision has hindered the termination of the military agreement of the two parties under the name Operation Barkhane which has failed to restore security in West African countries since 2012, which has caused degradations in all sectors in Mali.