Terrorism Profiles

Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA)

Alternative Names:

MOJWA, Mouvement pour l’unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest, MUJAO, Jamat Tawhid wal Jihad fi Garbi Afriqqiya and Jamaat Tawhid Wal Jihad Fi Garbi Ifriqiya, Al-Tawhid Wal Jihad in West Africa.

Location:

Algeria, Mali, Niger, Mauritania

Leadership:

The group’s leader was believed to be Hamada Ould Mohamed Kheirou. Other prominent members included Algerian Ahmed Al-Talmasi, Malian Sultan Ould Badi. Omar Ould Hamaha was MOJWA’s military commander before being killed by French security forces in March 2014.

Membership:

Membership consisted of fighters who broke off from AQIM in 2011. The group was made up of mostly Tuaregs, Mauritanian and Malian Arabs, as well as sympathizers from Nigeria and other Sahelian countries.

Funding Sources:

MOJWA was believed to be largely funded through its criminal activities.  The group has been very active in kidnapping and ransom of foreigners, as well as heavily involved in smuggling.

Origins

MOJWA was a splinter group of Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that believed in spreading jihad to regions that AQIM had previously left untouched. Specifically, they wanted to reach into West Africa and spread jihad in order to form a strict Sharia state.

The group emerged for the first time in 2011, after it claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of three European aid workers in Algeria.

In 2013, the French-led intervention in Mali led to the majority of MOJWA’s operations focusing on French and African forces in the region. On May 23, 2013, the MOJWA and al’Muwaqi’un Bil-Dima launched twin suicide attacks against a Nigerien army base and a French uranium mine in Niger, killing 25 people.

Since then, the group has merged with Al Moulathamoun to form a new organization known as Al-Mourabitoun, and is said to continue its close ties to Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

Major Attacks:

October 2011: Kidnapped aid workers from a refugee camp in Algeria

May 23, 2013: Launched an attack against the Nigerian Army base and a French Uranium mine. (25 killed)

February 7, 2014: Attacked ethnic Tuaregs near the town of Tamkoutat in northern Mali. (31 killed)

February 11, 2014: Kidnapped team of Red Cross Workers.

Ideological Roots:

The group follows the ideological roots of Al Qaida and other Islamist Jihadist traditions.

Objectives:

MOJWA wants to establish an Islamic state that follows Sharia law across west Africa.

Tactics:

Very little is known about the group except that it seemed to be heavily funded by drug trafficking and kidnapping for ransom.

 Terrorist activities included kidnappings, small arms attacks, IED attacks, and suicide bombings.

Updated on January 18th, 2016. 

References


  1. Cristiani, Dario. “West Africa’s MOJWA Militants—Competition for al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb?” The Jamestown Foundation. Terrorism Monitor, vol. 10 issue 7. Last modified April 6, 2012. Accessed January 15, 2016. http://www.jamestown.org/programs/tm/single/?cHash=b9b7813821af7b3da2fa786837feca84&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=39234#.VplJsZMrIw0
  2. “Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA).” ConflictBase. Accessed January 15, 2016. http://conflictbase.com/events/groups/608/Movement-For-Oneness-And-Jihad-In-West-Africa-Mojwa
  3. “Movement for the Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO).” Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium. Accessed January 15, 2016. http://www.trackingterrorism.org/group/movement-unity-and-jihad-west-africa-mujao
  4. “Currently Listed Entities.” Public Safety Canada. Last modified November 20, 2014. Accessed January 15, 2016. http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cntr-trrrsm/lstd-ntts/crrnt-lstd-ntts-eng.aspx#2054
  5. “Terrorism in North and West Africa.” The National Counterterrorism Center. Accessed January 15, 2016. http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/terrorismnwafrica.html
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