U.S. imposes sanctions on leader of Mali Islamist militant group

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on a leader of an al Qaeda-linked Islamist militant group in Mali and warned the influence of Islamic State in West Africa was on the rise even as it lost territory elsewhere. The U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted Amadou Koufa, a Salafist preacher and a leader of Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), an al Qaeda affiliate in the Sahel region. French officials last year had said the militant leader had died in a raid in the former French colony, but he appeared in a propaganda video in February. U.S….

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