Category Archives: Security

South Africa: 58 murders daily

The number of homicides rose by 1.4% to 21,325 in the 12 months through March — an average of 58 a day — the police service said in its annual crime-statistics report.

The murder rate of 36 per 100,000 people was little changed from the previous year and compares with an international average of seven per 100,000. The number of rapes, sexual offenses and car hi-jackings also increased, but property-related crime declined.

“We are not where we want to be,” Police Minister Bheki Cele said at a briefing in Pretoria, the capital. “However we are pleased with the improvements in most stubborn crime categories.”

Violent crime is fueled by widespread alcohol and drug abuse, and perpetrators often know their victims, the police data show. A lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the virus should have a positive impact on the current year’s statistics, with preliminary data showing it helped curtail homicides and other crimes.

EU launches CAR advisory mission

The Council today adopted a decision launching the European Union CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy) civilian advisory mission in the Central African Republic (EUAM RCA).

The mission was initially established on 9 December 2019, with Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/2110. Following the achievement of Initial Operational Capability, the mission will now become operational on 9 August for an initial period of two years.

Under the authority of the EU head of mission, Mr Paulo Soares, the objective of the mission will be to support the reform of the internal security forces to enable the local authorities to mitigate the current security challenges in the country. EU experts will support the Ministry of the Interior and the internal security forces, the police and the gendarmerie, with the aim of helping in their deployment throughout the country.

The mission coordinates closely with the UN MINUSCA mission and the international community, as well as the other CSDP mission present in the country: EUTM RCA.

The Council today also decided that the mandate of EUTM RCA will be extended for a further two years until 19 September 2022. The decision follows the Strategic Review of the Mission.

EUTM RCA is a military training mission launched by the EU in 2016 to provide strategic advice to the Central African Republic’s political and military authorities, as well as education and training to its armed forces.

Image above: social media.

Five killed in Johannesburg hostage situation

Five people were killed and hostages were being held at a church west of Johannesburg, South African police said on July 11, Saturday.

Police announced in a statement that they were alerted to a “hostage situation and shooting” in the early hours of the morning at the International Pentecost Holiness Church in Zuurbekom.

Thirty arrests were made and more than 25 firearms seized, police wrote on Twitter microblog, adding hostage negotiators were still at the scene.

Police did not explain the reason behind hostages situation.

Television station eNCA suggested there had been a leadership dispute at the church and cited a church official as saying roughly 200 people had been taken hostage.

G5 Sahel Summit in Nouakchott

President Emmanuel Macron will travel to the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott on Juin 30 for a Summit of West African leaders to discuss the ongoing combat operations against Islamists in the Sahel region, Elysee Palace office said last week.

French President intends to request Mali and Burkina Faso for guarantees on their commitments in favor of peace, so as not to jeopardize the military gains recently acquired on the ground, said a source at the Elysée on Juin 29.

“All the progress recorded is fragile and can be jeopardized if the political dynamic is not suitable,” he continued.

The Prime Minister of Sapin Pedro Sanchez and the French Head of State Emmanuel Macron are due to make their first trip to Africa in person on Juin 30 since the coronavirus pandemic.

The G5 force operates with the over 5,000-strong French Barkhane force which has been deployed in the Sahel for the last seven years but has encountered increasing resistance from the Islamists, desiring to restore the historic Chaliphate of Sokoto.

The meeting in Mauritania comes six months after a Summit in Pau, France, where the leaders vowed to strengthen the efforts to defeat the jihad in Sahel.

After the Nouakchott meeting, the six leaders will hold video talks with other key players including European Council President Charles Michel and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said a French presidential official.

The other European leaders the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the President of the Italian Council Giuseppe Conte will participate in this summit only by videoconference. Five G5 Sahel heads of state and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guiterres, and the president of the EU Council Charles Michel will join by teleconference.

Political criis in Mail has agrravated the situation in Sahel, and caused concern of the European Union, one of the major humanitarian sponsors of the region. The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell has warned about the risk of a protracted poliitical crisis for the security and stablitiy of the region.

EU committed to G5 Sahel

The joint invitation of the Mauritanian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, in the presidency-in-office of the G5 Sahel the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell Fontelles, and the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, a ministerial meeting of the Coalition for the Sahel in plenary format was held by videoconference, this Friday, June 12, 2020.

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This first meeting of the Coalition, in response to the call from the G5 Sahel countries, brought together some sixty representatives of states and international institutions. The first works of the Coalition were thus able to be held in an enlarged format, as the European Union and the heads of state of the G5 Sahel had called for during the video conference on April 28, 2020 which devoted the joint establishment of the Coalition for the Sahel and the Partnership for Security and Stability in the Sahel (P3S).

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Participants expressed their commitment to support the implementation of G5 Sahel action. Their intervention will be carried out according to the four pillars of the Coalition for the Sahel: fight against terrorism, strengthening of the military capacities of the G5 Sahel States, support for the return of the State and the administrations in the territory, development aid.

They took note of the progress made and the initiatives under way. These include the implementation of the Priority Investment Program, the ramp-up of the G5 Sahel Joint Force, the launch of Task Force Takuba, the military contribution of the African Union currently underway. finalization, progress within the framework of the peace process in Mali, strengthening of the mandate and enlargement of the geographical scope of the European training mission EUTM Mali, commitment of the European Union in favor of the redeployment of the ‘State under the P3S, as well as exchanges within the Sahel Alliance in favor of a more integrated territorial approach.

The participants underlined their common determination to support the efforts of the G5 Sahel to face the challenges that remain and to tackle the structural causes of instability: poverty, fragile growth and development, climate shock, while respecting human rights. and international humanitarian law, and the protection of the most disadvantaged.

The general principles of the Coalition were recalled: mobilization and solidarity with the Sahel, mutual accountability, representativeness of each participant, common and balanced integrated approach between the four pillars, subsidiarity and complementarity: no duplication or authority over existing structures .

To this end, the partners agreed to hold a meeting in restricted format in July to prepare for a next ministerial meeting after the summer. According to the progress of the work, the G5 Sahel will host, in agreement with the partners of the Coalition, during 2021, an extraordinary Summit of Heads of State.

Islamist warlord killed in Mali

Al-Qaeda warlord in north Africa, Abdelmalek Droukdel, is pronounced dead by French authorites after an operation in Mali.

Defence Minister Florence Parly said Droukdel along with members of his inner circle were neutralised in the north of the country on June 3.

French forces had also captured a senior Islamic State group commander in Mali in anther operation in May, she said.

The Minister described actions as “daring operations” had dealt “severe blows to the terrorist groups”.

Droukdel was in charge of all the al-Qaeda affiliates in north Africa and also commanded al-Qaeda’s Sahel affiliate, Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), which has been active in the north of Mali and Burkina Faso.

The captured Islamic State group commander, Mohamed Mrabat, was a jihadist was a long recored and had a senior role in the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) group, she said.

ISGS has been active in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

Côte d’Ivoire joined counterterrorist operation

Soldiers from Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso conducted their first joint operation against jihadists insurgency near their shared border, neutralising eight suspected militants and arresting 14 others, Ivorian army said on May 24.

Burkina Faso and its neighbours Mali and Niger in West Africa’s vast Sahel zone are conducting operaions against Islamist insurgencies with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State, claiming to re-consturct the historic Caliphe of Sokoto.

Those terrorist groups have been strengthening and expanding their range of operations, leaving coastal countries like Cote d’Ivoire at risk of violence and unrest breaking into their territories.

The joint operation was launched on May 11 with about 1,000 Ivorian soldiers participating from their side of the 580-kilometre border with Burkina Faso, Ivorian army announced in a statement.

The suspected militants were killed in Burkina Faso, the army confirmed, adding that the operation is ongoing.

Jihadist attacks in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have escalated dramatically over the past year despite significant military support from France, which is engaged in partnerships with former colonies.

While Cote d’Ivoire has mostly been spared the violence affecting its neighbours, it was the victim in 2016 of an attack claimed by al Qaeda in which gunmen killed 19 people at a beach resort.
Image: illustration

Al-Shabaab claims governor assassination

Somalia Mudug region governor was killed with three of his bodyguards in a suicide car bombing on May 17. The explostion was claimed by Islamist group al Shabaab, police said.

“A suicide car bomb hit the governor’s car. Governor Ahmed Muse Nur and three of his bodyguards died,” police captain Mohamed Osman told Reuters.

Al Shabaab has been fighting for years to topple Somalia’s western-backed central government and frequently carries out bombings in Somalia and elsewhere in the region. The group wants to establish its own rule in the Horn of Africa country, based on its own strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

“We are behind the explosion. It was a suicide car bomb. We killed Mudug region governor and his three bodyguards,” al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab told media.

The same day the armed group posted a statement on a pro-Shabab website that said: “The governor of the apostate administration in the Mudug region was killed in a martyrdom operation in Galkayo today.”

Galkayo lies about 600km (375 miles) north of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.

Al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda affiliate, pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011 and lost most of its strongholds, but still controls vast swathes of the countryside.

Italian hostage returned from Kenya

Liberated Italian hostage Silvia Romano landed at Rome’s Ciampino airport aboard a special flight at about 2 p.m. (1200 GMT).

Escorted by masked men from the intelligence service, young woman temporarily removed her protective mask to wave while she descended the steps from the jet before hugging family members waiting for her at the airport. “I am literally bursting with joy at this moment. But it is hard even only to think, please let me breathe. I need to withstand the shock, happiness is so big that it is exploding,” Silvia’s father Enzo was quoted as saying by several Italian media.

NGO volonteer was greeted by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the chief of Italian diplomacy Luigi Di Maio.

A group of armed men abdicted Romano, who was working for an Italian charity called Africa Milele, in northern Kenya in November 2018.

After extensive international search operations led by Italian intelligence, she was traced in Somalia, some 30 km (19 miles) outside the capital of Mogadishu, and was released due to efforts by the intelligence service, Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio underlined.

In her home neighbourhood in Milan, church bells saluted her arrival, with many people on their balconies, SKY TG24 showed.

Romano is expected to meet prosecutors in Rome later on May 10 to participate in the investigatiion case of her abdiction.

“I was strong, and resisted,” Romano was quoted by Italian media as saying publically after her release.

Prime Minister Conte said that the task force working to free Romano had been in the final stages for the last months, after receiving proof that she was still alive. The head of the government added that details were not revealed to avoid compromise of the secret service operation.

We are so glad to welcome Silvia back in such a delicate moment for the country. The State is always there, and will always be there,” Conte said.

Prime Minister expressed gratitude for the efforts of the intelligence services, the judiciary and the defence and diplomacy, all involved in the release the Italian aid worker.

Italian newspapers reported that Italy’s intelligence services had launched a vast and complicated operation together with Somali and Turkish counterparts to free Romano.

Kenya: Italian hostage liberated

President of the European Parliament David Sassoli thanked all those, involved in an operation of liberation of an Italian hostage – an NGO volunteer Silvia Romano (25) kidnapped in Kenya one and a half year ago. On his Twitter accounted Sassoli wrote that he received the news with joy, and expressed gratitude to everyone who did not “give up” working on her liberation.

On May 9 Italian Prime Minister Conte announced the liberation of an NGO worker Silvia Romano in an international operation conducted by the Italian secret services.

Silvia Romano has been freed! I thank the women and men of our intelligence services. Silvia, we are waiting for you in Italy” he wrote on Twitter micro blog.

“I was strong and I resisted. I’m fine and I can’t wait to go back to Italy” these are the first words in pubblic of the young Milanese Silvia Romano after the liberation.

The operation was directed by General Luciano Carta from the Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza Esterna (External Intelligence and Security Agency), known as AISE with the collaboration of the Turkish and Somali services and took place last night.

The volunteer is now in safety in the compound of international forces in Mogadishu, Somalia. The return to Italy will take place tomorrow, at 2 pm at Ciampino airport, Rome, according to the media reports.

She is well and fit. Obviously tired by the existence of captivity but she is all right” said Raffaele Volpi president of Copasir (Parliamentary Committee that controls the operator of the secret services). “The compliments – he added – go to General Carta, to the men and women of the Aise who with their tireless work, never in the light of the limelight, have allowed this very important result. Thanks guys and welcome back home to Silvia”.

Immediately after her release, according to the Adnkronos news agency which cites intelligence sources, the young woman “had a long telephone conversation with her mother and with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte”.

On November 20, 2018, Silvia Romano, a volunteer for the NGO Africa Milele Onlus, devoted to children in fragile situation, mainly abandoned, had been kidnapped by a group of armed men in the village of Chakama, 80 kilometers from Malindi. A large scale manhunt was conducted, but without any success.

In December 2018, an information was obtained about her being alive and transported to Somalia, but since then her case was shrouded in silence.

The violence during the kidnapping – commented a police inspector in the capital Nairobi –looked more like a theatrical act. The kidnappers carried Silvia up to the almost entirely dry Athi Galana Sabaki river, which is quite close. They got across the river and got to the motorcycles they had left there. They could have acted by surprise, riding to Chakama, taking Silvia and leaving quickly. Instead they took a more complicated and difficult route where someone could have followed or recognized them. But they where able to get away.”

Three of her eight kidnappers were subsequently arrested in Kenya.

On the events of the kidnapping, however, everything remains to be established. According to the sources by the Rome prosecution she was held captive in Somalia by militia close to the Al-Shabaab jihadist group, the Somali organization affiliated to al-Qaeda, and was considered a “political hostage”.

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