Category Archives: Security

Mozambique: IS attack in Palma

In Mozambique on Monday March 29 the Islamic State fighters, according to their own claims, had carried out an attack on the northern town of Palma, where dozens were killed, thousands displaced and some people remain missing. The total number of dead or missing following the attack is unknown. While tens of thousands of people may have fled, according to three aid workers. (Image above: illustration).

Islamist insurgents targeted Palma, situated next to gas projects worth $60 billion, with a three-pronged attack during last week. Fighting continued on Monday, March 29, according to a security source directly involved in efforts to secure the town.

The Mozambique government confirmed on Sunday, March 28, that dozens of people were killed, including seven when their convoy of cars was ambushed during an escape attempt.

Islamic State claimed the attack via its Amaq news agency, saying its fighters had taken control of the town after days of clashes with security forces.

They had killed at least 55 people, including a number of soldiers, destroyed and taken control of buildings including factories and banks, and seized vehicles, the news wire informs.

Most communications to Palma have been cut off since last week.

The country’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, where Palma is located on the border with Tanzania, has been plagued since 2017 by Islamist insurgency now linked to Islamic State.

“The jihadist attack on Palma, #Mozambique, is an attack on French interests and against the region’s economic development. It is also an attack of incredible barbarism. My condolences to the families of the victims” Member of French National Assembly Marine Le Pen wrote on her Twitter micro blog.

Niger: Borrell on defeating terrorism

Brussels 23.03.2021 “A few days after the attack on Banibangou, Niger is grieved by another massacre in the Tahoua region” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell tweeted, reacting upon the recent events in the Sahel region.
(Picture above: illustration).

“In one week, more than 200 civilians were victims of the indiscriminate and borderless violence of terrorist groups”.
“Nigeriens have not been intimidated by the various attacks that have marked these past weeks. On the contrary, they have completed a historic democratic process which constitutes a decisive stage for the consolidation of democracy in their country. They can count on the European Union to continue to lead with them the fight which will bring back security and stability to their country”, Borrell continued.

“By perpetrating these attacks against defenseless civilians, terrorists strengthen our resolve to confront them” the European diplomat concluded.

At least 137 Nigerien civilians were killed on Sunday, March 21, in an attack on several localities near the Malian border, the Nigerien government said in a statement late Monday.

“In the afternoon of Sunday March 21, 2021 at around 1 p.m. (1200GMT), the localities of Intazayane, Bakorat, Wirsnat and several other hamlets and camps located in the department of Tillia, Tahoua region, witnessed an attack perpetrated by armed bandits,” said the statement read on national TV by government spokesperson Abdourahamane Zakaria.

At least 137 people were killed and several others were injured, Zakaria said, adding that “reinforced security and health measures have been taken in the area and an investigation has been opened”.

The spokesperson also announced a three-day national mourning to pay tribute to the victims of the attacks.

It is the second deadly attack on Nigerien civilians in a week. On March 15, unidentified gunmen attacked and killed at least 58 civilians returning from a weekly market in the Banibangou department, Tillaberi region, near the Malian border, according to Zakaria.

Niger’s Tillaberi and Tahoua regions, bordering northern Mali, have been facing recurrent armed attacks since 2017 attributed to terrorist groups operating in northern Mali. As a result of these attacks, the entire Tillaberi region and part of Tahoua were placed under a state of emergency.

Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali in the Sahel are at the epicenter of one of the world’s fastest-growing displacement and protection crises.

The region hosts 851,000 refugees and nearly 2 million displaced people, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

In January, around 100 people were killed in attacks in two Tillaberi villages after the first round of presidential elections.

EU condemns Niger attacks

Brussels 17.03.2021 “The EU condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack on March 15 that killed more than 58 civilians in Banibangou in #Niger. In this historic electoral period, the EU calls for social cohesion and reaffirms its commitment to Nigeriens. #AUEU” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

At least 58 people have been killed in Niger after attacks near the border with Mali, according to the government announcement.
Unidentified gunmen opened fire on four vehicles that were bringing people back from a market in the Tillabéri region. No group has claimed the attacks, which happened on Monday, March 15.
However, at present there are two jihadist campaigns in Niger – one in the west near Mali and Burkina Faso, and another in the south-east on the border with Nigeria.

In a statement read out on public television, the Niger government said that “groups of armed, still unidentified individuals intercepted four vehicles carrying passengers back from the weekly market of Banibangou to the villages of Chinedogar and Darey-Daye”.

“The toll from these barbarous acts [is] 58 dead, one injured, a number of grain silos and two vehicles burned, and two more vehicles seized” the statement concluded.

DRC: Italy investigators head to Goma

An investigation Italian Carabinieri unit is expected in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) today, February 23, to establish the facts of the assassination of the Italian Ambassador Luca Attanasio. The mission will be accomplished with the support of the Congolese authorities and the United Nations Mission in Congo.
The remains of Italian Ambassador and the officer will be repatriated Tuesday to Kinshasa before heading to Rome, according to local media reports.

Congo’s government has blamed the Rwandan Hutu rebel group known as FDLR for the killings, a charge they have denied. Congo’s insecure east is home to more than 120 armed rebel groups.

Democratic Republic of Congo has already dispatched a team to support investigators on the ground in Goma,the capital of North Kivu province, where the Italian Ambassador, an Italian Carabinieri police officer and their local driver were ambushed and killed Monday, February 22.

Rwandan Hutu rebels denied allegations they were behind the assassination of the Italian ambassador to the DRC and instead accused the armies of the DR Congo and Rwanda of responsibility.

SAHEL: Chad to deploy thousand troops

Chad will deploy some 1,000 troops in Sahel to the tri-border region of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali to reinforce national armies that, backed by French and European allies, are battling Islamist groups, according to French and Chadian sources. (Image: illustration).

The deployment will be announced during a summit on February 15-16 in the Chadian capital N’Djamena held to tackle the situation in the Sahel, a French presidency official and a senior Chadian security official said.

The move is announced while France, which sent troops to the region in 2013 to repel jihadists who had occupied northern Mali, considers adjusting its military presence. This could entail France pulling some of the 5,100 soldiers that are involved in counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel.

Although France has claimed military successes against Islamist insurgents over the past year, it is searching for an exit strategy. The grinding operation has cost billions of euros and left 55 French soldiers dead, yet violence is persisting with signs it is spreading to coastal West Africa.

The French official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said President Emmanuel Macron could decide to hold off for a few weeks before adjusting his forces as he continues to consult with Sahel and European partners on the way forward.

“We now have very encouraging signals of an imminent deployment of the Chadian battalion,” the official told reporters in a briefing ahead of the summit. Financing from partner countries and equipment from France had been secured.

Chadian troops were last year mostly engaged in fighting insurgents from Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa in the Lake Chad region.

Chad’s armed forces are among the most respected and battle hardened in West Africa, a reputation forged during decades of regional wars and rebellions, and honed in the 2013 campaign in the deserts of northern Mali.

Their deployment to the tri-border theatre would enable French and other forces to re-orient their military mission to central Mali and to target Islamist leaders linked to al Qaeda.

The Chadian security source said the troops were already en route to the tri-border region, known as Liptako-Gourma, a region slightly larger than Germany, where the allies are trying to wrest back control of terrain from the insurgents.

Niger’s ruling party presidential candidate Mohamed Bazoum told a campaign rally in the Tillabery region, situated in Liptako-Gourma, that Chadian troops will be based there.

Somali: Al Shabaab explosion in Mogadishu

Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for an attack on a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu, in which nine people including four attackers are reported to have been killed, according to Reuters Africa reports.
A car bomb exploded near a popular hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on Sunday, January 31. The explosion was followed by a shootout between militants and police. Militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.

Witnesses said the massive blast occurred Sunday near Hotel Afrik, located in the vicinity of a busy security checkpoint en route to the Mogadishu airport.

Police say al-Shabab members stormed the hotel and many of the people inside were rescued, including Somalia’s former state minister for defense, Yusuf Siad Indha-Adde.
A VOA reporter, Abdikafi Yusuf Aden, was also inside the hotel at the time and survived.
“There was confusion and thick smoke rose up after the blast occurred. People were jumping down over the wall as we ran for our lives,” Aden told VOA News Somali.

Somali General Nour Galal is among the victims of the attack in Mogadishu local media reports.

Aden said he saw at least three people injured where he was hiding, but was unable to confirm what happened outside or on the other side of the hotel.
VOA reporters in Mogadishu said dozens of people were still trapped inside as night fell and security forces engaged attackers in an operation to end the siege.
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Kenya: Al Shabaab attack

One Kenyan security officer killed and three others injured in a roadside bomb targeted their vehicle along the Omarjillo-Arabia Road in Mandera County by Al-Shabaab on Wednesday afternoon, January 27, per North Eastern regional police boss Rono Bunei.

Earlier on January 24 Kenyan forces killed two Al Shabaab militants following a security operation in Mandera county near Kenya-Somalia border, according to local police. Mandera county governor, Ali Ibrahim Roba recently sent a distress call for help to deal with Al-Shabaab in the county.

Nice impact: Hungary refuses new entrants

“Africans should have a future in Africa,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told public radio commenting on Thursday’s terrorist attack in Nice, adding that “if you don’t want to give in, the only thing you can do is deny entry”.

“If we don’t want to see cases such as in Nice we must not allow them in,” Orbán said. “Apart from the few already here we do not want new entrants, especially not [illegal] migrants,” he said.

The Hungarian government “must not allow Brussels to force on Hungary rules under which we should allow entry to people who we do not wish to see — and then go to funerals”, Orbán said. “Despite all pressure Hungary will not follow the Brussels path.”

Orbán insisted that “the Hungarian opposition is for migration” and “opposition MEPs are in the same pack with those wishing to see Hungary change its migration rules … but as long as [Hungary has] this government, migrants will not come in.”

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.

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