In a previously unpublished “proof of life” video named “Appeal of the detainees”, dated October 1, 2017 by Al-Zallaqa, the media wing of Jama’ah Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) – Malian soldiers held in captivity by the group, appeal to the Malian people, the Malian government and in particular the president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita for help to find a solution, or as one of the prisoners stated “we call on each and every one of the Malian people for help in order to “bring us out of this crisis”.
The recording begins with an obligatory Qur’an quote, this in particular frequently used in the context of taking prisoners of war:
“So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens. That [is the command].” (Qur’an 47:4)
All prisoners give short testimonies, mentioning their rank, name, service number, and also the date and location of their capture, the largest group included five taken prisoners amidst a mass-casualty attack in Nampala last summer, with combat footage and sequences showing the capture of some of the soldiers, although those taken in Nampala were already featured in a previous release about two weeks after the attack. The prisoners look to be in relatively good shape considering the circumstances and having spent almost one and a half year in captivity, without disregarding the heavy emotional toll levied on the prisoners.
A second group of prisoners consisted of three soldiers captured amidst another mass-casualty attack, namely in Boulkessi on March 5 earlier this year, the first attack claimed by Jama’ah Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin, just two days after the formalization of the merger between four jihadist factions active in Mali and in the border areas of Niger and Burkina Faso.
Three other soldiers were taken in three separate incidents, one during an ambush on the road between Diabaly and Nampala, the second amidst last year’s prison break in Banamba and a third taken in Boulkessi in early November last year under unclear circumstances.
Some of the prisoners mentioned in their testimonies that they were held by “Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin”. Several of the prisoners were given the oppurtunity to greet their families including wifes, children, parents, friends and collegues. Obvious and understandable, a unison and desperate call for help with hope of being released, although under the watchful eye of their captivators.
Currently there are as already mentioned eleven Malian soldiers, and five foreign nationals held by JNIM as publicized by the organization, although the fate of U.S. citizen Jeffrey Woodke and the identity of his captivators remains unknown.
Below is a list detailing name, date and location of the capture as well as images of the eleven Malian soldiers held in JNIM captivity.