Category Archives: Security

SA: Ramaphosa on farm murders

12.10.2020 South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa urged not to use murders of white farmers to inflame racial tensions by falsely equating them with ethnic cleansing, a week after a farm killing stoked violent protests.

The killing of Brendin Horner, a white farm manager, in Free State province at the start of this month, triggered riots in the town of Senekal. White demonstrators stormed a police station where two Black suspects were being held. Some fired shots and set fire to a police car. farm murders not ethnic cleansing

“What happened in Senekal shows just how easily the tinderbox of race hatred can be ignited,” Ramaphosa said in his weekly message to the country. “We must resist any attempts to use crime on farms to mobilise communities along racial lines.”

Murders of farmers and members of their families, including young children, the vast majority of which are white from European ancestors, are an explosive issue in South Africa, where some white minority activist groups promote the idea that they are victims of a ‘white genocide’ that aims to force landowners to flee.

Farm attacks were discussed by parliament last month. Rural safety analysts at some agricultural organisations had noted a new momentum from government level to combat the problem, but the level of distrust runs deep towards government as well as towards populist political parties who still occasionally employ the apartheid-era chant of “kill the farmer, kill the boer”.

There has long been speculation on the racial nature of these attacks and it has been the subject of a number of studies, which have concluded that robbery is the primary motive.

Many farmers conduct trade on their farms, selling livestock, chickens or vegetables, handling large amounts of cash, which has been a demonstrable motive in some previous farm murders.

Robbers on farms also demand firearms, because farmers are often heavily armed, as well as cell phones and computer equipment.

Last month Tommie Esterhuyse, AgriSA’s chair of the rural safety commission, reiterated in a radio interview that they did not consider farm attacks to be racially targeted killings. He referred to Free State statistics showing 40 to 45% of farm attacks included farm workers (mostly black) as well as black commercial farmers and emerging farmers.

It has been estimated that an average of 58 people are every day killed in South Africa, of whom an unusually large number are women and children.

Mali: Swiss hostage death in absentia

Brussels 10.10.2020 A Swiss hostage – Béatrice Stockly (pictured) – Evangelical Missionary in Timbuktu, who had been held in Mali for four years was killed, the Swiss foreign ministry announced on October 9 in the evening after being informed by French authorities.

“She was apparently killed by kidnappers of the Islamist terrorist organization Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslim (JNIM) about a month ago,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.

It said the exact circumstances of the killing were still unclear, but that information had been obtained by the French authorities from a recently released French hostage.

Swiss authorities had worked with Malian authorities and international partners over the past four years to try to obtain the release of the hostage, the ministry said. It did not name the hostage.

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis condemned the killing in the statement. The ministry said it would try to find out more about the circumstances of the killing and whereabouts of the hostage’s remains.

Basel humanitarian Béatrice Stockly, kidnapped four years ago in Mali, was killed by her captors, those responsible are apparently members of an al-Qaeda group. She was allegedly killed by the kidnappers of the Islamist terrorist organization Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslim (JNIM) about a month ago.

“It is with great sadness that I learned of the death of our fellow citizen”, declared the head of the FDFA Ignazio Cassis. “I condemn this cruel act and express my deepest condolences to the relatives of the victim.”

Swiss evangelical missionary in the field Béatrice Stockly, who has been living in Timbuktu (Mali) for many years.

This woman who became Arabic-speaking, with a modest income, formerly in the service of the German mission “New Life Ghana”, had chosen to live, independently, within the population to develop local social action and offer a Christian alternative. Béatrice Stockly was kidnapped twice, in Mali, first in 2012 (Ansar Dine group) and then from 2016 (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb), because of her religious activity.

At the start of 2016, AQIM described her as “a disbelieving “evangelizer” who, through her work, has succeeded in bringing out of Islam a number of sons of Muslims” From a strict security point of view.

The exact circumstances of the Swiss hostage assassination are not yet clear. The French authorities were informed of this execution through the intermediary of the recently released French hostage, Sophie Pétronin.

Mali: last French hostage liberated

Brussels 09.10.2020 AMENDED: First images of Mme.Sophie Pétronin, 75, from Bamako Airport, Mali, where she was embraced by her son Sebastian. At present her state of health is unknown, she appeared on video, released by her kidnappers very fragile.

Brussels 8.10.2020 The Presidency of the French Republic confirms the release of Mr. Soumaïla Cissé and Ms. Sophie Pétronin. The ex-hostages are on their way to Bamako”, writes the presidency of Mali on his Twitter account.

The last French hostage in the world, Ms.Sophie Pétronin, captive since December 2016 in the Sahel, and Malian opponent Soumaïla Cissé are free and on their way to Bamako, the Malian presidency announced Thursday evening.

Two Italian hostages, Nicola Chiacchio and missionary Pier Luigi Maccalli, who were also detained in the north of the country, the scene of a jihadist insurgency, were also released, the presidency of Mali announced later in the evening in a statement. read on national television.

In Paris, Emmanuel Macron said in a statement released by the Elysee Palace that he had learned “with immense relief” of the release of Sophie Pétronin.

“Happy to know that she is free, he sends a message of sympathy to his family and loved ones,” the presidential statement continued. “The President of the Republic also welcomes the release on the same occasion of Mr. Soumaïla Cissé, Malian politician kidnapped six months ago.”

The head of state “particularly thanks the Malian authorities for this release. He assures them of France’s entire will to support Mali in the fight it is waging with perseverance against terrorism in the Sahel ”.

Aged 75, Sophie Pétronin, who headed a small Franco-Swiss NGO helping malnourished children, was kidnapped on December 24, 2016 in Gao, in northern Mali.

In a video released in June 2018 – the most recent – she appeared very tired and challenged Emmanuel Macron, believing that the head of state had “forgotten” her.

In November of the same year, his captors had issued a press release stating a “deterioration of his health” and blamed the French government for which, according to them, “stubbornness” “prevented” the closure of this. “case”.

On April 1, we learned that the French authorities had “proof of life” from Sophie Pétronin dating back to “early March”, according to her son, Sébastien Chadaud-Pétronin.

The latter had left for Bamako on Tuesday in the hope of his mother’s release soon.

“I’ve been saying I believe it for four years and I’m a big liar because there are a bunch of times I didn’t believe it. And then there, I could not believe it any more “, he reacted Thursday evening at the microphone of France Info.

“I can’t even realize it yet, I think I haven’t realized yet. She’s on the plane. There is now a bunch of odds that we meet again, I think we can tell, ”he added, his voice filled with emotion.

Popular opponent Soumaïla Cissé, who was finance minister between 1993 and 2000, was kidnapped in March while campaigning in the Timbuktu region in the north of the country.

Reportedly two hundred jihadists were liberated as a part of a deal to liberate Mme.Pétronin, and Mr.Cissé.

MALI: Ms.Pétronin hostage liberation

The son of the French-Swiss humanitarian worker Sophie Pétronin, the last French hostage in the Sahel since her kidnapping by armed men linked to Al Qaeda at the end of 2016, flew to Bamako, Mali, on October 6, in the hope of his soon being released.

Sophie Pétronin, 75, was kidnapped on December 24, 2016 in Gao, northern Mali, where she ran a children’s aid organization.

This morning Sébastien Chadaud-Pétronin, who has traveled to Mali several times in an attempt to secure his mother’s release, has confirmed to a several news agencies that he had boarded a commercial flight to Bamako.

“There is still nothing official,” he said shortly before his plane took off. However, he referred to converging information coming from “reliable sources”.

According to a French security source in the Sahel, the hostages are being transferred to Bamako.

In a fragile state, the French humanitarian aid worker Sophie Pétronin should be released at the same time as the Malian opponent Soumaïla Cissé, kidnapped in March by a group linked to Al Qaeda, as part of a prisoner exchange, said three security sources.

More than 200 jihadists have been released in the past two days, according to security sources in Mali. (Image below: Strasbourg).

Nigeria: Russian captain kidnapped

Pirates kidnapped two Russian sailors from the refrigerator ship Water Phoenix, the Embassy of Russian Federation in Nigeria has confirmed. (Image: illustration).

We confirm that two Russians were kidnapped from the ship Water Phoenix as a result of an attack by pirates 30 kilometers away from Lagos on September 8,” the embassy said on its official portal. “In cooperation with Nigerian law enforcement agencies we are exerting efforts to establish the hostages’ whereabouts and secure their release.”

According to the Nigerian portal Nigerian Tribune, the pirates seized the ship’s captain and another member of a crew, while the other 16 sailors managed to lock themselves in a compartment. The entire crew has been formed from 18 sailors – 7 Russians and 11 Filipinos.

The portal Dryad Global, devoted to maritime security matters, said that pirates had attacked the refrigerator ship Water Phoenix under the Liberian flag on the way from the Dutch port of Ijmuiden . At the moment of the attack the vessel was navigating southwest of Lagos. According to the information available it belongs to a company registered in Germany.

The Gulf of Guinea stretching from Senegal in the north to Angola in the south is notorious as the worst piracy ravaged area globally. In the first quarter of this year it accounted for 45% of world piracy incidents.

According to the International Maritime Bureau (“IMB”), the piracy can be defined as “the act of boarding any vessel with intent to commit theft or any other crime, and with an intent or capacity to use force in furtherance of that act”.

Reducing piracy is an ongoing battle, but in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic the situation has aggravated. Previously the Somali waters are perhaps the most well-known location of the modern-day pirates, largely due to headlines generated during the 2000s. Since then, the region has managed to significantly reduce numbers of piracy incidents, in part due to surveillance from the air and sea, and an increased international cooperation between countries’ navies. However, now the Gulf of Guinea has taken the lead. This fall in numbers became a global trend, with incidents of piracy falling worldwide in recent years.

2020 is, however, on course to buck this downward trend. The IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre recorded 98 incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the first half of 2020, up from 78 in the first half of 2019.

France to pursue Barkhane operation in Sahel

France will pursue its military counter terrorist operations in Mali against Islamist insurgence despite the ousting of the country’s President two days ago by a coup d’état, the French armed force minister Florence Parly announced.

“The Barkhane operation, asked for by the Mali population and authorised by the U.N. Security Council, continues,” Florence Parly wrote on her offical Twitter micro blog.

Barkahne is an ongoing anti-insurgent operation which started six years ago (August 1, 2014), and is led by the French military against Islamist militiants in Sahel region. At present France located around 5 000 miliatry there, under operational command of headquarts in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.

“Barkhane brought a remarkable tactics success, but it has not reached the strategic victory yet” said the French military expert Arnaud Danjean in his recent interview to Le Figaro newspaper.

The operation is lead in cooperation with five countries, and former French colonies, which has entered new partnership with a former metropol: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.These countries are collectively referred to as the “G5 Sahel”. A crescent-shaped dune in the Sahara desert named Barkhane became the name of this military mission.

There are aslo around 100 Estonian troops focus on protection for the Barkhane base, undertaking checkpoints, providing escorts and conducting patrols. The need for strengthinging vigilance was put forward in 2019, when troops thwarted a suicide car bomb and gun attack at the Gao camp. Six Estonian personnel were injured in the incident.

Nigeria: jihadists abdicted hundreds of displaced

Insurgents from the Islamic State group West Africa Province (ISWAP), affiliated to Boko Haram, attacked Kukawa in the Lake Chad region late on August 18, seizing hundreds of people who had just returned to their homes after spending nearly two years in displacement camps, said Babakura Kolo, head of a local militia.

“The terrorists attacked the town in 22 trucks around 4:00 pm (1600GMT) yesterday and engaged soldiers guarding the town in a fierce battle,” he said.

Residents of Kukawa, escorted by the military, had returned to the town just on August 2, on the orders of the Borno state authorities.

They had been living in camps in the regional capital Maiduguri, 180 kilometers away, where they fled following a brutal attack in November 2018.

A local chief who accompanied the residents to the town said the people had returned with the hope of cultivating their farmlands “only to end up in the hands of the insurgents”.

“We don’t know what they would do to them but I hope they don’t harm them,” said the chief, who asked not to be identified for safety reasons.

A security source who confirmed the incident to AFP said fighter jets were deployed from Maiduguri on August 19 to “tackle the situation”, without giving further details.

Mogadishu Elite Hotel blasts left 43 injured

At least 16 people were killed in an suicide bomb atttack on Sunday, August 16, by the Islamist group al Shabaab on a seaside hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, according to government spokesman Ismail Mukhtar Omar.

The toll includes 11 victims and five assailants, Omar underlind in a Tweet late on Sunday.

“Security forces lost one, 18 people were injured,” Omar said.

A group of armed men stormed the high-end Elite Hotel in Lido beach, after detonation of a car bomb and then opened fire with assault rifles. Later the Al Shabaab militants claimed the responsibility for the attack.

Dr Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of AAMIN ambulance services, told Reuters news agency on Monday, August 17, that in the aftermath of the attack they had transported at least 43 injured to the hosptials.

https://twitter.com/studio63_ke/status/1295289537703419906?s=21

Al Shabaab militants ambition is to topple the central government and establish Caliphate based on their own interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

The Elite hotel is owned by Abdullahi Mohamed Nor, a lawmaker and former finance minister, and is frequented by government officials and members of the Somali diaspora.

Somalia has been plagued violence since 1991, when warlords of clans overthrew leader Mohamed Siad Barre and then started a protracted armed dispute over power among them.

Car bomb Mogadishu Hotel attack

The gunmen stormed a hotel in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, following a huge explosion on its premises, witnesses and police said. Presumabley the assault has been undertakien in attempt to assassinate the Somali education Minister, experts said.

The attackers blew up a vehicle loaded with explosives and fought their way into the Elite hotel, police officer Osman Shine said by phone. The hotel is at the edge of Lido beach, an area frequented by senior government officials.

Al Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab launched the attack, a spokesman for the Somali government, Ismael Mukhtar Omar, said, adding that “there is gunfire ongoing inside.”

Two of the assailants have been shot dead by Somali security forces, according to Mukhtar.

Local journalists are reporting, quoting security sources, that at least four gunmen armed with AK47, suicide vests and grenades attacked the Elite hotel in Mogadishu. At least 5 people have died, dozens injured.

Al Shabaab claims suicide attack at Elite Hotel in Mogadishu, planned as assassination of Somali Education Minister, experts claim. Attack continued with fighters storming inside an engaging in ongoing clashes with security. The strike follows a long series of Shabaab attacks on hotels in Mogadishu via same strategy of suicide bombings. Local media reports on 10 people killed and 30 wounded.

Nigeria: three pirates convicted

Nigerian court has announced the first convictions under a new anti-piracy law, ensuring the world’s shipping fleets that legal reforms will normalise the situation in the Gulf of Guinea.

The three men fined by the court in Port Harcourt, Nigeria’s oil hub, on August 11 were among nine accused of hijacking the tanker MV Elobey VI off Equatorial Guinea in March and securing a $200,000 ransom for the crew.

The merchant shipping industry has long demanded Nigeria to undertake strict measures in the area, which has been dubbed “pirate alley.”

It accounts for over 90% of maritime kidnappings globally, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), with attacks on all kind of vessels from oil platforms to fishing boats.

The court fined the three men convicted 10 million naira ($26,300) each for each of the two counts of piracy to which they pleaded guilty.

The remaining six pleaded not guilty and their trial continues.

Nigerian navy spokesman Commodore Suleiman Dahun (pictured) said the convictions were the first conviction under the new law, which passed last year to open legal way to prosecute pirates.

Commodore added that the fines were levied in lieu of prison sentences.

While the Gulf of Guinea is streched along more than a dozen West African countries, experts underline the pirates typically come from Nigeria’s oil-rich but poverty-stricken Delta region.

So far the assaillants rarely faced judicial consequences as piracy was not defined illegal under Nigerian law.

A total of 49 crew were kidnapped in the Gulf in the first half of this year, compared with 27 last year, according to IMB figures. It has aslo underlined that attackers were also more daring and going further out to sea than previous years.

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