Recent high-profile attacks by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) could mean the militant group is gaining in strength, a US commander for North and West Africa told Reuters.
AQIM first emerged during the Algerian civil war in the 1990s, but is now mostly based in north Mali. The group remained mostly dormant for several yars due to infighting.
The group has claimed responsibility for two hotel sieges in the capitals of Mali and Burkina Faso in November and January, which left dozens dead.
Six United Nations peacekeeping troops were killed Friday in an attack claimed by another Malian militant group, Ansar Dine.
Some security experts have said the attacks on cities, and an uptick in propaganda, may signal competition with Daesh, which now has an active base in Libya.